NBC10 Investigators

Mansfield Mystery: Police Chief Breaks Silence About Town Investigation

In an exclusive interview with the NBC10 Boston Investigators, Mansfield Police Chief Ron Sellon discussed the workplace misconduct allegations that landed him on paid administrative leave last year. Town leaders have remained tight-lipped about the situation while taxpayers fund the six-figure salaries of two police chief positions.

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Ron Sellon is breaking his silence.

At his home in Mansfield, Massachusetts, the police chief sat down for an exclusive interview with the NBC10 Boston Investigators to discuss why he has been on paid administrative leave for months.



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As we first reported in April, town leaders never disclosed his status to taxpayers until we started asking questions.

In a wide-ranging interview, Sellon spoke publicly for the first time about the workplace misconduct allegations that landed him on paid leave.

“I have done my very level best to resolve this situation and bring it to an amicable close,” Sellon said. “And I’m still here waiting. Nobody wants to get paid to sit at home. My goal is to get back to the business of doing what I love.”

The police chief in Mansfield has mysteriously been on paid administrative leave since last year and taxpayers are shelling out two police chief salaries.

Sellon and his attorney provided an excerpt of the private investigation conducted by Matthews & Matthews, LLC on behalf of the town.

According to the report, the firm was hired to probe allegations of “harassing, bullying and unbecoming conduct” by Sellon over the past three years.

When asked to describe the allegations, Sellon responded: “They are not exactly the most flattering thing on the face of the earth. But at the same time, not what I would amount to misconduct.”

The documents say Deputy Chief Michael Ellsworth brought the allegations to Town Manager Kevin Dumas in June 2021 on behalf of himself and several members of the police command staff. They told Dumas the chief’s behavior had grown worse over the past year.

We asked Sellon if there was a hostile work environment under his watch.

“I think the vast majority of people will agree that we work in a paramilitary organization,” Sellon said. “We work in a high-stress, high-liability organization. When mistakes get made, you see disastrous consequences.”

After learning of the allegations, Sellon told us he agreed to take some time off to recover from arm surgery. He also agreed to take a fitness for duty exam prior to returning to work last September.

“[The doctor] found there was nothing substantively wrong with me,” Sellon said. “And then I waited.”

In late October, town leaders quietly placed the police chief on paid administrative leave, but did not disclose that development to taxpayers.

Eventually people noticed that Sellon, who grew up in Mansfield and has worked nearly 30 years with the department, wasn’t around.

Missing fliers started popping up around town. Sellon said people wondered if he was terminally ill.

“I wouldn’t have handled it this way,” he told us. “As a citizen of Mansfield, I believe it’s a matter of public concern where the police chief is.”

A "missing" flyer for Mansfield Police Chief Ron Sellon
NBC10 Boston
A "missing" flyer for Mansfield Police Chief Ron Sellon.

As we first reported, the town hired the private investigators last December. Financial records show the town has paid at least $13,000 to date for the investigators to prepare and conduct interviews with a handful of people, including the deputy chief, a lieutenant, a detective, two administrative staffers and Sellon.

Those interviews occurred at beginning of the year, according to invoices. Months later, with the investigation seemingly concluded, taxpayers are continuing to shell out a rate of $388,000 for two police chief salaries.

“It just dragged on,” Sellon said. “We would ask, ‘What’s going on?’ And we got nothing.”

According to the documents, private investigators had reached their own conclusions at the beginning of May. They sustained a number of allegations against the police chief. Those included:

  • Profanity-laced outbursts
  • Angry and threatening messages to subordinates
  • Abusive and disrespectful behavior
  • Damaging his town cell phone after throwing it in his office

Sources also told us about a documented 2015 incident inside the police station that left a hole in the wall following an argument between Sellon and a detective. The sources provide a photo of the damage.

A photo provided to the NBC10 Investigators of the hole in the wall.
Provided to NBC10 Boston
A photo provided to the NBC10 Investigators of the hole in the wall.

When questioned, Sellon denied having an anger management problem and told us none of his behavior justifies losing his job.

“I’m not a perfect person,” he said. “I think I could’ve obviously handled certain things better. That said, I don’t believe there was anything that couldn’t have been handled with a conversation.”

We reached out to Dumas, the town manager, to let him know the police chief had done an interview with us and had provided a redacted excerpt of the private investigation.

“Throughout this investigative process, the Town has been committed to protecting confidential information about all employees involved, including Chief Sellon,” Dumas wrote. “Without knowing what Chief Sellon has chosen to say about this matter, it would be irresponsible for the Town to now break that commitment and make comments at this time.”

Dumas added the process has not concluded, but “will in the very near future.” He also said the deputy chief was not authorized to speak after we reached out to Ellsworth for comment.

The Town denied our public records request for a copy of the full private investigation. However, we appealed and the state’s Supervisor of Public Records ruled favorably on our behalf that the report was not exempt from public disclosure. We are currently awaiting a response from the Town.

Meantime, Sellon continues a wait of his own, one that has now lasted more than a year.

When asked if he is fit to serve as Mansfield’s top cop, he responded: “I’m absolutely fit to serve as the police chief.”

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@nbcuni.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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