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Protective custody discussed at police commission meeting



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THE WOLFEBORO POLICE COMMISSION received a commendation from the New Hampshire Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve at its Aug. 20 meeting for its support of Lt. Dean Rondeau during his latest deployment to Iraq (his third). Bonnie Roberts (center), a retired Navy chief, extended thanks from the organization in recognition of the impact imposed by a deployment. Accepting the award are (l-r): Commissioner Curtis Pike, Chairman Ben Ladd, Police Chief Stuart Chase, Commissioner Joe Balboni and Lt. Dean Rondeau. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
August 27, 2009
WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro Police Department's July statistics, reported at the Aug. 20 Police Commission meeting, included 16 accidents, most of which occurred on Center and South Main Streets, and 83 offenses. The month ended with 40 open cases, six closed, and 16 in the category of protective custody.

Nine of those arrests resulted from a single underage drinking party on Pointe Sewall Road. The monthly records for 2009 reveal that May, June and July of this year had the highest number of protective custody arrests.

In one such case, police responded to a burglar alarm on South Main Street at about 4 a.m. to find that the suspect, "grossly intoxicated" (according to the report), had mistakenly broken into an office building thinking that it was his home, which was not far away. Officers retrieved an article of his clothing from the street and took him into custody.

Chase asked the commissioners to consider what might have happened if the building that the suspect had forced his way into had been occupied, and offered this instance as a "prime example of why incapacitated people are not permitted to meander along our streets and in our neighborhoods."

He said that although community survey results from questionnaires placed in citizens' electric bills list drunk drivers and drug abuse as major concerns, he also receives comments that police are "overzealous" in their alcohol-related arrests. Citing Carroll County's "outrageous statistics on alcohol and drug abuse," the chief said the Wolfeboro Police Department's numbers are a reflection of that figure, rather than a sign of overzealous law enforcement.

"Impaired people are often violent, disagreeable, helpless, physically and verbally abusive and otherwise difficult to deal with," said Chase. "Police officers do not actively seek them out – why would we?"

He explained that police can't simply take them home, "because once control of the person and situation is relinquished, domestic complaints, assaults and drunk driving are potential outcomes."

Chase concluded by asking for people to "consider the notion of drinking and acting responsibly."

Other business

Town Manager Dave Owen has asked to have the budget proposal for 2010 on his desk by Aug. 31, according to Chase, and the board of selectmen have asked for a zero percent increase with the exception of negotiated cost of living adjustments.

The Police Commission received a commendation from the New Hampshire Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for its support of Lt. Dean Rondeau during his latest deployment to Iraq, his third. Bonnie Roberts, a retired Navy chief, made the presentation. She extended thanks from the organization in recognition of the impact a deployment has on the department.

Chase warned residents to not give any personal information over the phone in response to requests purportedly from the town or a municipal department (see story on this page) in regard to tax or electric bills. Any such scam call should be reported to the police department by calling 569-1444.

Officer Guy Maloney received a letter of thanks from the Wakefield Police Department for serving as a drug recognition expert at the July Driving While Intoxicated checkpoint on Route 16.

Rondeau was complimented by the driver of a disabled vehicle for his assistance and by a visitor who felt his case was handled with sensitivity.

Officers Greg Cooper and Scott Moore and Rondeau met with Brewster Academy to discuss student safety.

The commission asks residents to complete the community survey on the work of the police department found in their electric bill and send it in.

The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 17 at the Wolfeboro Public Library at 6:30 p.m.

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