Former Rockland Police Officer Addison Cox was sentenced July 15 for animal cruelty. Attorney Bruce Merrill stands left with him. Justice Bruce Mallonee presided over the sentencing hearing.

ROCKLAND — Two former Rockland police officers were sentenced to jail July 15for killing porcupines with retractable batons multiple times while on duty.

Michael A. Rolerson, 31, of Searsmont, and Addison Cox, 28, of Warren were sentenced July 15 in Knox County Superior Court before Justice Bruce Mallonee, each on misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals and night hunting.

Rolerson was sentenced to 270 days in jail with all but 20 days suspended. He was also placed on probation for six months and fined $1,000.

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.

The former officers did not speak, other than entering their guilty pleas and acknowledging they understood their rights, during their brief hearings.

Felony charges of animal cruelty were dismissed. District Attorney Natasha Irving said the felony counts were dismissed because the former officers accepted responsibility for their actions. In addition, Irving said both men served the U.S. honorably in the military and were combat veterans who are receiving care from the Veterans Administration.

Justice Mallonee also acknowledged that the two officers served their communities as officers.

Sagadahoc County Assistant District Attorney Michael Dumas, who was assigned the case by the district attorney, said Rolerson received a longer jail sentence because he was the senior officer and there were more incidents involving him than Cox.

Cox will serve his sentence on weekends. With good time, he should serve a total of seven days. Rolerson will begin his sentence in January.

Cox and Rolerson were fired Sept. 22, 2020 and were issued summonses for the criminal charges Oct. 2, 2020.

Rolerson estimated he killed eight porcupines and Cox said he killed three, according to a report by the Maine Warden Service.

Rolerson told the investigator that it wasn’t that he disliked porcupines, but that they were rodents and were always getting into his camp and creating damage. Rolerson said porcupines were also nuisances on the road.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Dumas, right, and District Attorney Natasha Irving represented the state at the sentencing hearing. Stephen Betts

Rolerson also told the investigator he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder after serving a tour in Afghanistan, while in the Marine Corps.

Cox told the investigator he looked up to Rolerson and was trying to be like him. Cox also served in Afghanistan while in the Marines.

Other officers who either witnessed the killing of the porcupines or were told about it said nothing until Aug. 28, when one of the officers spoke with Officer Anne Griffith, who had no knowledge of what transpired. Griffith told the other officer that she was going to report the conduct and urged him to do the same, which he then did.

Rolerson was represented by attorney Stephen Smith. Cox was represented by attorney Bruce Merrill.