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Alton police officers receive awards from state

ALTON POLICE OFFICERS (left to right) Tim Sullivan, Brett Murray, and Richard Vanderhoof were recognized by the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council with Looking Beyond the Traffic Ticket awards for their efforts to keep the community safe over the past year during a special ceremony in Concord on May 26. Brendan Berube. (click for larger version)
June 02, 2010
ALTON — A trio of police officers from Alton were honored for their efforts to keep the community safe over the past year during a special ceremony in Concord last week.

Lt. Richard Vanderhoof, newly promoted Sgt. Tim Sullivan, and Officer Brett Murray were recognized on May 26 with Looking Beyond the Traffic Ticket awards, given out each year by the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council to law enforcement personnel across the state who take time to look beyond the obvious and find criminal and drug activity during motor vehicle stops.

Murray received the Outstanding State and Municipal Teamwork award for his efforts to track down a driver he arrested last year on charges of impairment who later failed to appear in court.

Devoting every spare moment he had when not working on other cases to the task of locating the suspect, Murray eventually found him and moved in for an arrest, which ultimately helped state authorities shut down a mid-level drug ring.

Sullivan was given the Dedicated Traffic Enforcement — Town award for making a total of 843 traffic stops during 2009, 55 of which resulted in arrests.

Of those arrests, 12 were alcohol-related and eight were drug-related, culminating in the removal of impaired drivers who could have endangered the lives of others from Alton's roadways.

For his enforcement efforts, which led to 887 traffic stops during 2009, 102 of which resulted in arrests (21 of them alcohol related and another 28 drug related), Vanderhoof was recognized with the Traffic Enforcement Inspirational Award.

Vanderhoof's work alone accounted for a third of the department's DWI arrests and 55 percent of its drug-related arrests last year.

Sullivan said following the awards ceremony, which was held at the state police academy on the NHTI campus, that his award meant a great deal to him.

"People don't realize how much work we actually do," he said, adding that although officers' accomplishments are always recognized within the department, he felt it was important for their work to be acknowledged at the state level, as well.

"A lot of people don't know exactly what we do" because that information is not always readily available, Vanderhoof added, expressing his appreciation for events like the Looking Beyond the Ticket awards that bring the work police officers do every day to the attention of the public.

Pointing out that the Alton Police Department is only a small agency, Murray said the fact that it has been recognized the past two years alongside larger organizations like the Concord and Nashua police departments and the State Police is a measure of the impact Alton's officers have had on the community.

"The fact that we can be in this pool with the big dogs" shows how far the department has come, he added.

Given the fact that Alton does not experience the same call volume as larger departments like Laconia, Vanderhoof said, the recognition of its enforcement efforts shows how proactive its officers are.

"You have a choice — you can sit on your butt and wait for a call to come through, or you can get out there and be proactive," he said, adding that Alton's officers have embraced the proactive approach to law enforcement.

Police Chief Ryan Heath, who also attended last week's ceremony, agreed that the awards showed the proactive, "well-rounded" nature of the officers throughout his department's ranks.

Alton's officers, he said, are working "every shift, every day of the week" to accomplish the department's mission — keeping the town and its residents safe, and maintaining a professional approach to law enforcement.

"I'm very proud," he said, explaining that the awards given to Murray, Sullivan, and Vanderhoof reflected well not only on them, but on his agency as a whole.

"My department is only going to be as good as its members," he said, "and this shows that we're solid, down to the last link."

Brendan Berube can be reached at 569-3126 or bberube@salmonpress.com

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