A former New Hampshire police officer and MMA fighter who was fired for repeatedly violating department policy will be allowed to access guns while free on bail, a judge ruled.
Ronald “R.J.” Letendre, a 47-year-old former Dover cop who was fired in August can possess guns while free on a felony charge of falsifying physical evidence for allegedly stealing drugs that had been seized by cops in 2016, Foster’s Daily Democrat reported Monday.
Judge Mark Howard released Letendre on his own recognizance Monday, but issued a bail order stating the former cop and fighter can have guns and ammo if it’s part of his work duties, the newspaper reported.
“The firearms prohibition … does not apply to firearms possession during and in the course of employment and only as necessary to fulfill the duties of his employment,” Howard wrote in his order.
The ruling came after Letendre’s attorney argued that he had a “constitutional right” to possess firearms, claiming that he shouldn’t be barred from accessing them “merely because” he’s accused of a felony-level crime.
The county’s prosecutor, meanwhile, said he couldn’t recall another felony suspect in Strafford County Superior Court being allowed to have a gun or ammunition while out on bail.
Letendre – who cannot drink alcohol to excess or use controlled drugs under the bail order – must also arrange to be taken into custody by Dover police no later than Dec. 30, according to Howard’s order.
An investigation into Letendre started earlier this year when his 35-year-old estranged wife, Sarah, accused him of breaking several of her ribs during an incident at their Rollinsford home on July 10, the newspaper reported.
Sarah Letendre was initially charged with simple assault and other counts, but those allegations have since been dropped. Ronald Letendre has not been charged in the domestic violence investigation, according to the report.
Months after his termination, Letendre was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly stealing drugs seized by Dover police at a home in September 2016.
Letendre, who fought as a featherweight, lost his only professional MMA fight in 2013, a fighting database shows.