Criminal Charges Dismissed, Battalion Chief Resigns

Londonderry Fire Battalion Chief Douglas Cardwell will not face criminal charges after he accepted a negotiated resolution and resigned his position with the Fire Department last week.

Londonderry Town Prosecutor Kevin Coyle said the charges against Cardwell related to alleged harassment were dismissed, with the additional conditions he avoid any further contact with the alleged victim, and avoid any future arrest or major traffic violation.

“This is the right resolution for everyone involved,” Coyle said.

Cardwell, 48, had been on paid administrative leave since he was arrested in September on four misdemeanor counts of making harassing telephone calls to his girlfriend’s ex-husband.

Londonderry Police began investigating a complaint filed by Chris McNamara of Londonderry on July 28, according to Det. Christopher Olson.

McNamara, a corrections officer in Massachusetts, received roughly 75 calls from a blocked number in about three days and told police he was concerned it could be an inmate who was recently released, Olson said.

Through their investigation, police determined the calls originated from Cardwell.

Police subpoenaed telephone records from the blocked calls and found some had been dialed from Cardwell’s “place of employment.”

McNamara and his ex-wife were involved in a child custody dispute. Following Cardwell’s arrest, his girlfriend said she believes the harassment accusations her ex-husband reported to police were a “set-up.”

In the affidavit, Cardwell’s girlfriend told police she had made 10 calls to McNamara using Cardwell’s phone a total of 10 times.

She said she had a “very tumultuous” relationship with McNamara.

McNamara said he was “very upset” to learn charges against Cardwell had been dropped and that he would resign with his $80,000 pension.

“I think he made out just fine,” he said. “All I wanted was for this to be on his record. If this were someone working in the private sector, he would have been fired and criminal charges would have been pursued. It’s just been swept under the rug.”

Coyle said if Cardwell had been prosecuted, his worst case scenario would have been a conviction and having to pay a fine. He said he would not have lost his pension, as it’s compensation he earned through his work for the Town.

Cardwell was a member of the Fire Department for 28 years. His base salary was $77,470, which is $80,570 with overtime. That sum is what he drew for his pension, which he will be paid annually.

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