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Police in New Hampshire are calling for more resources to support officers who are struggling with mental health issues.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., heard from law enforcement officials and mental health advocates during a roundtable Tuesday at the Nashua Police Department.

Many police departments across the state, Nashua and Manchester included, have peer support programs for employees struggling with mental health.

But Shaheen says we need more research and support for these kinds of efforts.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has amended its finding in a fatal 2016 officer involved shooting of a 25-year-old Claremont man, Cody LaFont.

The Attorney General's office initially concluded that the shooting was "legally justified," but it decided to re-examine the case after the officer involved was convicted of falsifying documents related to a police search last year.

  The Portsmouth Police Commission has voted unanimously against the use of body cameras. Police officials said Tuesday that body cameras would not be of value in a city with a low rate of citizen complaints.

 

Over the past nine months, the Body & Car Camera subcommittee, which is made of citizen volunteers, conducted research and compiled a report on the issue.

Robert Garrova / NHPR

 

Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano says his department won't bill President Trump's re-election campaign for any expenses associated with his visit Thursday.

 

The rally, to be held at the SNHU arena in downtown Manchester, is expected to draw over 11,000 people. The area around SNHU will be closed to traffic, and protests are also expected.

 

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The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire is suing the city of Manchester over its plan to install surveillance cameras downtown, alleging they would violate state privacy laws.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan and other lawmakers want to send more federal money to police to combat the opioid crisis.

A bill called the POWER Act would help state and local agencies buy portable electronic devices that screen and immediately identify chemicals including opioids and methamphetamines.

Hassan says right now, police have to rely on specific labs to identify the chemicals in seized substances, and it can take weeks to get results back.  

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Police, firefighters, and emergency personnel have specific stressors in their daily jobs that can lead to long-term mental health impacts. We look at how the profession and our state are trying to improve its understanding, and response, to PTSD in this workforce.

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The second of two former Claremont police officers charged with lying on the job has pleaded guilty.

The state Attorney General's office says Mark Burch will serve 100 hours of community service, and has agreed not to work as a police officer in New Hampshire. He was sentenced to a year behind bars, but the jail sentence is suspended pending good behavior.

His former colleague on the force, Ian Kibbe, was sentenced in January to a year in jail, with all but 90 days suspended. He is also barred from serving in local law enforcement.

A New Hampshire police department has announced a new voluntary registry program for residents with special needs.

The New Hampshire Legislature will consider a couple of bills this year to ensure certain disciplinary records of police officers are subject to the state's right-to-know law. At issue is something called the "Laurie's List," a list of current or former law enforcement officers who have had disciplinary issues and may not be deemed trustworthy to testify in a court proceeding.

State Rep. Paul Berch, a Democrat from Westmoreland and retired public defender, is a co-sponsor of two bills, House Bill 153 and House Bill 155. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Berch about the intent of his legislation. 

 

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office says a State Trooper's use of deadly force in September was legally justified.

The incident began when Trooper Kevin Dobson responded to multiple calls about a drunk driver on Route 101.

Dobson found the vehicle parked off the road in Epping.

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The ACLU of New Hampshire and the Union Leader Corporation have filed a right-to-know lawsuit against the town of Salem.

Courtesy of Erin Pettengill

A program developed in Manchester that supports children in trauma is spreading to other New Hampshire towns.

The program - called “Adverse Childhood Experience Response Teams” (ACERT's) - helps police connect social workers to kids who have recently witnessed a traumatic event, such as domestic violence or an overdose.

NHPR Photo

  A man accused of threatening violence at the New Hampshire Police Academy graduation has been sent to Concord Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

 

According to court documents, fellow classmates say 24-year-old Laconia Police Department recruit Noah Beaulieu talked about bringing 30-round magazines of ammunition and shooting those attending the academy graduation scheduled for Friday.

 

Attorney Mark Sisti is representing Beaulieu. He said his client has no criminal record or mental health history.

NHPR Photo

  

A court document says a police recruit spoke to his squad about participating in a suicide pact or killing other officers at their upcoming graduation from New Hampshire's police academy.

Police arrested 24-year-old Noah Beaulieu, of Concord, on a criminal threatening charge. They said he was a recruit from the Laconia Police Department at the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Academy until Wednesday.

Beaulieu was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. It wasn't immediately known if he had a lawyer and a phone number couldn't be found for him.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Police departments throughout the U.S. are struggling with recruitment and retention, and New Hampshire is no different.

 

national survey this year by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence found that police vacancies were the top most difficult positions to fill for jurisdictions.

 

Currently, New Hampshire police departments are trying to fill an estimated 40 vacancies. 

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Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan is resigning after an internal audit revealed widespread problems in the department.

The audit found the department mishandled investigations, failed to follow through with citizen complaints, and was inconsistent in timekeeping and pay.

Salem placed Donovan on leave for two days in August over disagreements with Town Manager Chris Dillon, but he had returned to his post despite ongoing disputes with the town.

NHPR

Former Claremont Police Officer Ian Kibbe entered a plea agreement in Sullivan County Superior Court on Monday, pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges related to illegally searching a property earlier this year.

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The town of Salem has hired a “civilian administrator” to oversee ongoing improvements at the Salem Police Department after an audit identified significant problems there.

Brian Patullo, a former Chief of the Andover Police, has taken the new role of civilian administrator, which Town Manager Chris Dillon says will last “until most issues are addressed.”

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The Conway Police Department is asking for funding to arm its officers with Taser guns.

 

Many police departments in New Hampshire already use Taser guns, which pause a suspect by stunning them with an electric shock.

 

Edward Wagner, Conway's Chief of Police, says changes in policing and conversations with Axon, the company selling the Tasers, have convinced him it's time for a change.

 

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The New Hampshire Attorney General's office and the Manchester Police Department are investigating police officers' use of force during a recent arrest.

Early Sunday morning, officers tasered two people and arrested four after a fight broke out at Bonfire, a downtown Manchester bar.

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Two stores in Massachusetts began selling recreational marijuana today, but police are reminding people in New Hampshire to be careful.

State law says someone can be arrested if they have more than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana and charged with a felony if they have over an ounce with intent to distribute.

NHPR File Photo

 

A commission of criminal justice experts convened by lawmakers has issued its recommendations for how New Hampshire should implement bail reform.

Among other things, it recommends that the courts keep track of whether defendants commit new offenses while out on bail; that the state pay bail commissioner fees if the defendant is indigent; that victims generally not be required to testify at a bail hearing; and that the state adopt a text messaging system to remind defendants about their court date.

Police in Manchester, Pelham, Nashua, and Concord are joining forces on Saturday to host a "Youth Forum for New Americans."

The event is the first time the police have organized this kind of event for young people, specifically targetting immigrants and refugees.

John Marasco is an Administrative Major with the New Hampshire State Police. He says the afternoon is meant to build relationships between the police and new Americans, particularly those who have had bad experiences with law enforcement in the past.

Emily Corwin for NHPR

A commission convened by lawmakers will issue recommendations on Wednesday for how New Hampshire courts should treat defendants before trial.

The group - made up of lawmakers, police, and legal professionals - began meeting after the passage of a bail reform bill this summer.

That bill - SB 556 - eliminated cash bail for most defendants.

It also called for a commission that would develop a new system for judges to set bail and keep a defendant in jail when necessary.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

On Saturday, Laconia Middle School became a training ground for police, firefighters, and EMS personnel from across Belknap County.

The Laconia Police Department organized the training to test local emergency response in case of an active shooter. Police departments across the state conduct these regularly, but trainings at schools have ramped up in the last several years, in part due to funding from the Department of Homeland Security.

Scroll through the slideshow above to see photos from the training.

via Facebook

Like many a millennial hired at the dawn of the era of social media, Zachary Byam found himself in charge of creating a Facebook page at his college job.

But his task was unique. Byam worked as a part-time police officer, and he was creating his department's first social media account.

Marlborough Police Department

When cops go online, sometimes they make jokes. 

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

 

The Laconia Police Department is conducting an active shooter exercise Saturday at Laconia Middle School.

New Hampshire police run these exercises regularly, but this one is meant to train officers from departments throughout Belknap County.

Police Chief Matthew Canfield says, when incidents occur in a rural state, it's critical to coordinate multiple departments.

Photo: West Midlands Police/cc/flickr

The Portsmouth Police Commission is putting together a group to study whether the city police department should start using body cameras or patrol car cameras.

The group will look at the cameras' costs and how other New England communities use them, either for trainings or in court.

Jim Splaine is a Portsmouth police commissioner, and he proposed this review group last month.  He says, getting body cameras might just be a matter of time.

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