Episode 2: "The Alcohol. The Timeline. Bruce McKay."

I uploaded the second episode of the podcast (available on iTunes and audioboom for Android). It’s also on YouTube if you want to follow along to see pictures of sources, maps, etc. that we mention throughout. In the previous post I mentioned that we discuss the alcohol and the timeline in this episode. We also discuss Officer Bruce McKay, whom I’ve written about a little already.

Episode 41 of the Missing Maura Murray podcast gets into some detail about Officer McKay. During that episode they noted what I consider to be one of the more telling bits of information about McKay. It was a quote from a Boston Magazine article titled “Collision Course,” and it states that:

“McKay rang up over 300 stops—summary interrogations, drug searches—pursuing every infraction, no matter how petty, with the same bulldog ferocity. The other two full-time cops in town reportedly collected just 11 between them.”

Despite having read the article several times, Ethan pointed out something about Officer McKay that I managed to completely miss before. That is that McKay worked as a police officer while simultaneously serving as the prosecutor in the county. The article quotes:

“Unlike Massachusetts, New Hampshire does not have district attorneys, and relies on police prosecutors to pursue guilty verdicts in minor crimes. To earn extra money, McKay filled that position for the town. Sometimes, when trying a suspect he’d arrested, he’d put himself on the stand to present the evidence.”

In other words, as Ethan points out in this episode, it was in McKay’s direct financial interest to arrest as many people as possible because as the prosecutor, he would be paid by the state to subsequently file charges against those individual(s) he arrested. In addition to what has been described as a certain affinity McKay had for authority, the 300 traffic stops compared to the other officers’ combined 11 makes a bit more sense when we consider his direct financial incentive.

As a government accountability “hawk,” I find this practice fairly alarming. However I recognize that it’s unlikely the practice itself has any direct connection to Maura’s disappearance, so we don’t dwell on it too much in the episode. You can learn more about it in this academic article.

Lastly, here is the chart of the differences between the Haverhill Police Department’s account(s) of the alcohol and the NH State Police’s account, which I reference in the episode.

(Note: There was an issue with the audio when I originally uploaded the podcast that resulted in about 45 seconds of dead air at the beginning. [Still continuing to learn as I go along..] This issue should now be fixed.)