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Police move ahead with hiring an officer funded by COPS grant

November 24, 2010
WOLFEBORO — With approval from the Board of Selectmen of the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant for an additional police officer, Town Manager Dave Owen and Police Chief Stuart Chase are moving forward in the recruitment and selection process. Interviews will commence in December.

The funds amount to $256,884 over a three-year period under the condition that the town continue funding the position thereafter. Chase plans to create a detective position from the patrol officer ranks and fill that officer's slot with an entry-level hire that would be paid for by the grant.

He announced to the police commissioners at their Nov. 18 meeting that the department has received many resumes, an outcome the chief believes speaks well of the department. To him, it shows that "Wolfeboro is a good place to work."

In other personnel matters, the chief has been collecting resumes for the position of administrative assistant, currently held by Donna Commerford, who will be retiring at the end of the month. Also, he said that Dispatch Supervisor Mia Lyons has advised him that "she needs to bolster the part-time staff as the current crew has other commitments that preclude them from working the day shift." The hires will not have an impact on the budget.

Arrest activity has held steady at 26 for the month of October. Offenses, at 72, were down by 16 percent from September, with criminal mischief and possession of controlled narcotics topping the list with five each. Theft, criminal trespass, and unlawful possession of alcohol numbers were close behind at three each. There were nine accidents.

Chase commented that School Resource Officer Greg Cooper, whose duties are predominantly at the middle and high schools with a student population of around 2,000, engaged in 38 investigations. His activity included assistance in locating missing persons, dealing, among a variety of matters, with an issues at the construction site, security at a pep rally, a medical call and a summons issued to a minor for possession of tobacco. He also conducted physical fitness testing.

Court activity involved 15 defendants, dealing with a total of 20 charges. There were two trials, 14 negotiated pleas, and four arraignments.

Officer training

In the last month, Sgt. Scott Moore was certified as a firearms instructor at Police Standards and Training, all sworn officers completed mandatory use of force training, which was a four hour class led by Senior Patrol Officer Roger Martel, and Lt. Dean Rondeau and Sgt. Chris Keaton completed a two-day class sponsored by the Attorney General's office on driving while intoxicated offenses and negligent homicide.

Chase offered his appreciation to the school district for the use of force training, which took place at the high school. Officers were instructed in how to deal with low light and no light situations and perform corridor and room searches, and were offered equipment instruction and information on trends in shooting situations.

The chief reported also that he completed the physical agility testing requirements of the Police Standards and Training to maintain his New Hampshire certification, commenting with a smile, "Not bad for an old guy."

Community Outreach

Chase reported that Lt. Rondeau has been appointed to the Board of Directors at the Kingswood Youth Center and that he had moved to an associate director slot.

Chase and Deputy Fire Chief Tom Zotti joined in a segment on Halloween safety on the community access channel, and Lyons distributed glow sticks to trick or treaters at the public safety building on Halloween.

Donations may be made to the Childrens Christmas Fund for the department to purchase children's clothing for needy Wolfeboro families. Chase said that donations may be dropped off at the public safety building or mailed to the PD at 251 South Main Street or P.O. Box 1689.

Selectman Sarah Silk asked for an update on information regarding additional cell towers or repeaters to alleviate the number of dead zones within the police department's call area. She mentioned that Lyons had been looking into the matter and that Fifth Estate's Bennett Hill tower was under consideration as part of the solution.

Chase replied that towers at the Bennett Hill and Trask Mountain locations would "relieve 90 percent of the woes," at a substantially lower cost than first thought and said, "I'm confident that we will have hard and fast figures very soon within the next few days."

The Wolfeboro Police Commission will convene for its next public meeting on Dec. 9, at the Wolfeboro Public Library on South Main Street, at 6:30 p.m.

Varney Smith
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