Former Rockland Police officers charged with animal cruelty sentenced to jail

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 6:45pm

    ROCKLAND — Two former Rockland police officers who were arrested in October 2020 for beating several porcupines to death with a baton while on duty were sentenced to jail at a hearing in Knox County Superior Court July 15.

    Michael A. Rolerson, 31, of Searsmont, and Addison Cox, 28, of Warren, appeared before Justice Bruce Mallonee and were each sentenced on misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals and night hunting.

    The felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals and the misdemeanor charge of using artificial light to illuminate wild animals were dismissed for both men.

    Rolerson was sentenced to 270 days in jail with all but 20 days suspended. He will begin serving his sentence Jan. 7, 2022. He was also placed on probation for six months and fined $1,000.

    Additionally, Rolerson must relinquish his Maine Criminal Justice Academy credentials, may not engage in hunting, complete 100 hours of community service and complete a psychological evaluation with counseling and treatment, according to the court document.

    Cox was sentenced to 90 days in jail with all but 10 days suspended. He was placed on administrative release for six months and fined $1,000.

    His jail sentence will be served on the weekends beginning on a Friday at 5 p.m. and ending on the following Sunday at 5 p.m.

    Cox may not apply for any future employment as a law enforcement officer and must also complete 100 hours of community service, according to the court document.

    Cox was represented by Attorney Bruce Merrill, of Portland, and Rolerson by Attorney Stephen C. Smith, of Augusta.

    District Attorney Natasha Irving had specially assigned Assistant District Attorney, Michael Dumus in Sagadadoc County who prosecuted the case.

    The former Rockland Police officers were first terminated from the department on September 22, 2020, for animal cruelty to several porcupines on more than one occasion with a baton and while on duty. They made their initial court appearance in January 2021.

    According to the criminal complaints filed in Knox County Court, the incidents occurred on Bog Road in Rockland around 11 p.m. sometime in 2020. No date is listed on the complaint.

    The complaint does not include the specific details of the alleged abuse but states that the “men did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause extreme physical pain to an animal; cause the death of an animal; or physically torture an animal.”

    Game Warden Kevin Anderson of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife issued the summonses. Both officers were served on Oct. 2, 2020.

    Related stories:

    Sarah Shepherd can be reached at