LACONIA — Police said yesterday at a monthly Police Commissioner meeting they will be using some of their overtime budget to increase patrols on summer weekends to try and stem the tide of drugs use and sales within the city.
Capt. Bill Clary said the decision to increase patrols stems from conversations police administrators have had with city officials who are concerned with reports of the amount heroin available in the state.
He told commissioners that the department plans on teaming up extra patrol officers with members of the detective bureau and working collaboratively toward reducing the presence of illegal drugs.
By placing two additional officers on patrol, but without the responsibilities of regular policing duties, police believe the additional coverage will make a difference.
Chief Chris Adams said he has been talking with state officials about drugs with an eye toward looking at some federal grants that may become available in the future.
Numerous published reports confirm New Hampshire and New England is in the throes of what some politicians are calling a heroin "epidemic."
Last year, three city residents died from confirmed heroin overdoses and neighboring communities also saw a marked jump in the number of heroin-related incidents, arrests and deaths.
In other police commission business, Adams and Sgt. Dennis Ashley presented Christine Vigue with a Citizen's Recognition Award for her vigilance in stopping shoplifting at the Union Avenue CVS store.
Ashley, who headed a recent Problem Oriented Policing project addressing retail theft said that while all merchants in the city have done some great work toward eliminating shoplifting, Vigue has been single-highhandedly responsible for around 90 violations and charges.
"We really appreciate her tenacious attitude toward pursuing people who prey on local merchants," Ashley said while he presented her with the award.
CUTLINE: (vigue) Police Commissioner Armand Maheux looks on as Police Chief Chris Adams (left) and Sgt. Dennis Ashley (right) present CVS shift supervisor Christine Vigue with a citizen's recognition award for her successful efforts at thwarting shoplifting at the Union Avenue CVS store. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)