Jamie Brave, the wife of Strafford County’s Democratic Sheriff Mark Brave, is out as Frisbie Memorial Hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer, sources tell NHJournal. The decision came after her arrest on driving under the influence charges.
Ellen Miller, director of marketing and public relations at the hospital, said Jamie Brave resigned on December 14, days after NHJournal reported on her arrest during a New Hampshire State Police saturation patrol in the Portsmouth region. Jamie Brave has pleaded not guilty in the case now set for trial in March.
Jamie Brave’s husband Mark was elected Strafford County sheriff in 2020. Following news of the arrest, multiple sources told NHJournal there are concerns about the Brave’s business relationships.
The Strafford County Sheriff’s Department was hired by Frisbie this year to provide security services at the hospital’s Rochester campus.
Strafford County Administrator Ray Bower declined to comment about the contract, referring the matter back to Mark Brave. The sheriff declined to respond to multiple requests for comment about the contract.
All of the elected Strafford County commissioners — George Maglaras, Bob Watson, and Deanna Rollo — were also unwilling to comment on the contract between the sheriff and his wife’s (now-former) employer.
The Strafford County Sheriff’s Department, like most in New Hampshire, does not perform traditional law enforcement duties. Instead, the department oversees civil process, emergency communications, court security, prisoner transports, and some investigations. Sheriff’s departments can contract with municipalities to offer regular law enforcement services and usually do so in smaller communities that lack the money to pay for full-time police departments.
The Strafford Department started assigning deputies to the hospital this year to support Frisbie’s security staff. Miller said the terms of the contract has the hospital paying $55 an hour for each deputy assigned and it tops out at $100,000 a year.
Jamie Brave was not involved in negotiating the contract, Miller said. In fact, Jaimie Brave signed a conflict-of-interest form before the hospital entered into the agreement with the Sheriff’s Department, Miller said.
Frisbie wanted to beef up security after the December 2020 incident in which security guard Rick Semo was critically assaulted by a man outside the hospital’s emergency room, Miller said.
“We wanted to do everything to ensure the safety of our patients and staff,” she said.
Tyler Thurston, 31, of New Durham, allegedly punched Semo in the face during an altercation. Semo, 64, fell onto the pavement, striking his head. Semo died five days later as a result of the injury.
The Strafford County Sheriff’s Department also provides a deputy to work as the school resource officer in the Farmington School District and another to work as the truant officer in Farmington. That contract, also started this year, comes despite Mark Brave signing off on a Black Lives Matters letter demanding that New Hampshire do away with school resource officers.
Like Frisbie, the Farmington School District also pays the Sheriff’s Department to provide the deputies and their services.
Jamie Brave was stopped in the early morning hours of Dec. 10 during the State Police patrol and charged with DUI. It is not known if she was alone in the car at the time of her arrest. NHJournal has requested documents from the New Hampshire State Police related to the stop and arrest.