Staffing changes in 2019 included the hiring of Officer Joseph Walz. Joe came to us from the Pembroke Police Department with two years experience and full time officer certification. Officer Joshua Fisher resigned to work for another agency, leaving the vacancy filled by Joe. Welcome aboard Joe. Officer Geoffrey Daley assumed the role of canine handler. Vilo has adjusted well to the change. Officer Eben Lamson was promoted to Corporal after and internal promotional process. Congratulations Corporal Lamson. We have also hired Walter “Chuck” Hodgdon, to assist us in going paperless. The State of New Hampshire has authorized the use of digital files for retention. Chuck is currently scanning our archived files. We are hoping to finish this project in 2020. Dispatch staffing has remained stable.
Upgrades in the department include the addition of a radar speed counter. We have had many concerned citizens contact the police department as well as address the Board of Selectmen. Volume of traffic and the speeds they travel, is of concern. Radar enforcement in a marked police cruiser does not give us an accurate picture of traffic that any road may have. The purchase of this traffic device enables us to get a snap shot of the real time issues the residents are facing. This equipment is not seen by the motoring public and people are unaware that that it is being utilized, which gives us an accurate picture. We first deployed the equipment on Bunker Road and found that the road was far more traveled than we thought. We had a traffic count of over 4000 cars in a 7 day period. We learned that the speed problem was not as significant as we had thought, however it was clear that more enforcement was needed. We placed the equipment on many roads and found Shaker Street was a problem area with many enforceable speeding violations. We learned that over 50 percent of the cars were traveling well above the posted speed limit with one vehicle being reported at a speed of 80 mph in a posted 25 mph zone. We have had many requests for our digital speed signs. We have been moving those around the neighborhoods with positive results from the community. We continue to receive many requests to have the signs on specific roads. The signs are solar powered and easy to relocate. It is general knowledge that these signs have an impact of about three weeks before they go unnoticed. We try to relocate them every two weeks or so. If you would like a sign or a speed report of your street, please call Sgt. Keith at the station to get into the rotation.
In 2019 training included the following courses: Basic Police Prosecutor, Taser Instructor, First Responder Sexual Harassment training, StopStick update, Ethics in LE, Child Passengers 2019, Pedestrian & Bicycle laws, Smith & Wesson Armorer’s class, NE Narcotic Enforcement training, Constitutional Issues for LE Supervisors, Active Attack Emergency Communication, PBT Instructor, Firearms Qualifications, Taser updates, Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement, LIDAR operator, Behavioral Observation training, Counter Ambush for Female Officers, Boston PD Patrol K9 Handlers Course, Boston PD Narcotic Detection Class. 3-year Fitness certification, Basic Internal Affairs, State updates: NIBRS, Fingerprinting, SOR, Sexual Violence and Mental Health, Right to Know 91a, Redaction for 91a. Communications training included: NHEDA Supervisor Seminar, APCO Communications’ Supervisor Course, SPOTS recertification, NHEDA conference and quarterly training.
We continued our public service events including our seventh Stuff a Cruiser event, public speaking on current criminal trends and Hospital Days events. Halloween created quite a timing debate. New England weather challenges having a safe event for the children. One thing I learned over the last few years is that it is impossible to please everyone with the timing of this event. We kept the event on the 31st this year and had a great outcome. Over the past years, when Main Street was not closed to traffic, it was difficult for us to control the crowd and it was unsafe for the number of children we see. Safety concerns of children darting across the streets in the dark, cars weaving in and out of pedestrians and traffic were all items we consider in planning this event. Closing Main Street for this event brings the community together and provides more of an old town feel with your neighbors. The Police Department works very hard to make all town events safe and fun. We look forward to continuing to provide our services in the future.
The year 2019 was a productive year for the Detective Division at New London Police Department. Over $7,000. was seized during drug investigations. A portion of that will later be returned to the New London Police Department for drug investigations. There were also seizures of drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, and illicit pills. Unlawfully possessed firearms were also seized during investigations. These items listed were taken off the streets thanks to a joint effort of the patrol and detective divisions. The information New London PD gathers in these cases is then shared at the local intelligence meetings to further investigations that other departments are conducting. The duties of the Detective also include managing the evidence room. Detective Rowe has implemented a bar code scanner to make logging evidence more efficient and time effective. The evidence room is neatly organized and maintained. Another responsibility of the Detective Division is to manage the Drug Drop Box in the lobby of the police station. The Drug Drop Box remains available for all that would like to safely dispose of medication. In 2019, 115.8 pounds of medication were disposed of through the Drug Drop Box. In 2020 we will continue with investigations as well as working with other agencies to optimize the information we gain during our investigations, and to make our community a safe place to live and work.
Commencing in 2019 and into 2020 the police facility has been topic of conversation. The current police department including dispatch, has out grown the building addition of 2000. In 1999, a decision was made to retrofit the town office into a police station. We utilized the current building the best we could. The layout of the current location is not functionally adequate. It is with great hopes that the redesigned or new facility, will be built with the future in mind for growth. In my 27 years with the New London Police Department, improvements are made to get by. We find that things do not function efficiently. The lay out has never been successful for officer safety and the safety of our staff. The tone of this project has begun with the vision of ‘let’s see what fits’. I strongly urge the residents to get involved in this project, regardless of your preferred location, to build a police station that is designed as a police station. Please be involved. It would be prudent to build a facility that can take growth into the future. Building costs just continue to rise. We should design and build a facility that can grow without future expensive renovations. It would be shameful, in a few years from now, to ask the tax payers to address concerns we have known along. The Buker building and Whipple hall cannot expand any more due to lot size and historic nature. We do not want the money put in today to be another band aid. The plan should include the requirements of accreditation. National accreditation reduces insurance and legal expenses not to mention the professional department this town has come to expect.
On behalf of the department, I would like to thank the citizens of the community for your support and commitment to the departments and employees of the Town of New London. Without your support, we would not be able to provide the service you have come to know.
Edward G Andersen
Chief of Police
New London Police & Communications
Heidi Dunlap, Comm Supervisor
Kimberly (Kim) Lavin
Gregory (Greg) Barthol
Jason St George
William (BJ) Hardy
Andrew (Andy) Lubrano
New London Police