Alexander (Alex) Hutchins received a new pin that designated him as the town's newest Chief of Police in a ceremony before the Board of Selectmen on Oct. 12. Presenting him with the honor that night were his dad Clint Hutchins and grandfather Harry Hutchins. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
November 11, 2021PLYMOUTH –Last month, the family of Plymouth's Deputy Police Chief, Alexander Hutchins, had the honor of attaching the pin that designated him as the town's new Chief of Police while, in what was deemed a smooth transition of power, Det. Sgt. Nate Buffington was also pinned by his mother, Plymouth Tax Collector Linda Buffington, as the newest Deputy Chief.
Hutchins has served the community since 2002 as a patrol officer, sergeant and finally as second in command under Chief Steve Lefebvre starting in 2012. This past September Lefebvre officially announced his retirement at the end of that month and sent a letter encouraging the Board of Selectmen to consider Hutchins for his position.
"As your current Chief of Police, it is with my highest recommendation and without reservation, that I recommend the town appoints Alex Hutchins as the next Chief of Police," Lefebvre wrote.
Hutchins, who also holds a college degree in Criminal Justice, was proud to take over the role of chief and felt ready to take on the task of not only overseeing the safety and wellbeing of the Town of Plymouth, but guiding the town's officers in their duties as well.
In his nine years as Deputy Chief, Hutchins told the board he had learned much about the administrative duties of the chief's position and what it meant to lead a police department. He has also been active in the community and helped to increase the safety of students in the town and even the entire SAU 48 through the implementation of radio communications, a School Resource Officer program, and even an Active Alert System for all schools in the SAU.
Over the years, Hutchins has worked closely with Plymouth Fire and Rescue, Plymouth State University, Speare Memorial Hospital, and CADY's youth programs. Through the Plymouth Rotary he helped coordinate the annual Holiday Parade, assisted Plymouth Parks and Recreation with Downtown Trick or Treat and other community events, and worked successfully with both N.H. State Police and the Grafton County Sheriff's Department.
"While working alongside Chief Lefebvre, [we made sure] that the decisions we made best suited the town and the police department needs," Hutchins told the select board in early October. "We were always looking for ways to save the town money and make the budget that was given to us work."
Those cost-saving methods, such as grants and other economic efficiency practices within the department, will continue under his leadership, he assured them.
Hutchins was a familiar figure in the town before he even started his 19 years as a member of the police department. Born and raised in Plymouth, he felt his recent appointment was a historic transition for him as he went from longtime resident of the town to Chief of Police.
Besides his wife Amanda and children Brecken and Kennedy, his dad Clint Hutchins and grandfather Harry Hutchins took part in the pinning ceremony.
"You've taken on a great responsibility and God bless you and protect you," grandfather Harry said that night.
Once the town officially recognized the new chief, Deputy Chief Nate Buffington was then pinned for his new position.
Like Chief Hutchins, Buffington is also a graduate of Plymouth Regional High School along with Plymouth State University. He began his career in 2005 as an officer for the Thornton Police Department before moving his career to the Town of Tilton a year later. In Tilton he was initially hired as a patrolman but in 2014 Buffington was promoted to the role of Detective Sergeant and enjoyed that challenge.
Besides utilizing his investigational skills in the town, Buffington became the Assistant Commander of the Belknap County Drug Task Force where he was assigned to supervise tactical and operational planning for all cases within the county. Additional educational experiences include six months of serving as an interim Prosecuting Officer for Tilton, multiple investigations with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and his own career advancement training through the FBI's Leadership Training Program.
On Jan. 1, he transferred to Plymouth Police Department where he was hired as their Detective Sergeant. Happy to be back in his hometown, he has no regrets as to where that move has led him.
"I started years ago to prepare for this [promotion] but I just didn't know at the time that it would be back here in Plymouth," Buffington said. "It turned out this was the right time, the right opportunity and the right place for me to be."
As Deputy Chief he is confident in not only his role, but especially the role of Chief Hutchins when it comes to leading the department into the future.
"This is a new challenge for me but I'm ready for it and can't wait to get to work every day," he said. "Change is a good thing. It's important to have a good team and working with (Chief Hutchins) and this department, I couldn't be happier."
One month into their partnership, Hutchins is happy as well.
"With Deputy Chief Buffington's work ethic and work knowledge, we compliment each other very well. Deputy Chief Buffington will assist me in leading this department with respect, integrity and professionalism for years to come," Hutchins said.