Former Bradford City Police Chief Accepted Into ARD Program

Former Bradford City Police Chief Michael P. Close was accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program on Thursday in McKean County court on allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend in March of this year.

“The allegations in the case are that at 12:30 a.m. March 14, Close was involved in an argument with Amy Baker at her residence when he allegedly struck her in the mouth and ripped a necklace from her neck. He went outside and she followed, at which point he allegedly pushed her, and she fell and struck her head, according to court records.

Goodwin said Thursday that Baker suffered only minor injuries, and was in favor of Close being admitted into the ARD program.

“You understand that successful completion of the program earns you a dismissal of the charges against you?” White asked Close.

Close said that he did understand.” – Bradford Era

Close’s  attorney, Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer, said she wanted to make it clear that accepting ARD was not an admission of guilt.

(Close) has a very good reputation in the community.  He was a police officer for a long time.

On March 17, three days after the March 14 altercation, Close retired.  It is said that he intended on retiring before the incident occurred.

Senior Judge H. William White told Close that he is still presumed innocent of charges and has not admitted any misconduct.

Close is ordered to be on the ARD program for a year.  Stipulations of his ARD include mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations.  He is also required to undergo treatment, including anger management if recommend by the evaluations.  He is ordered to not be in possession of firearms, but will retain ownership of them.

Close is also ordered to not consume alcohol and to stay away from any establishments selling or serving alcohol.

Judge White told Close before the end of the hearing,

I respect your years as an officer.  Everybody has a bad day now and then. It’s too bad that you are here.

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