By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Police Chief Chris Adams told the Laconia Police Commission Thursday that this summer has been one of the busiest on record.
He said in July alone, there were 200 more calls for service than there were last July and the activity increase is spread over all three shifts.
"I don't know if it's the weather or what," Adams said.
In July, police made 129 arrests, conducted 428 motor vehicle stops, issued 347 warnings and 26 citations, and investigated 53 car accidents. On the positive side, he said there were no fatal crashes in July.
Adams said 15 of the 53 accidents were caused by inattentive drivers, including some that involved cell phone use. Lt. Thomas Swett said he has applied for a grant to help with enforcement of the hands-free law.
Adams also told the commission that there have been quite a few heroin/fentanyl overdoses in recent months and that some of them are suspected to involve a drug that goes by the nickname "bath salts."
He said Swett has put together an application for some of the $1.5 million appropriated in the state budget to combat opioid addiction. Swett said that if the grant is approved, the money will be spent on prevention, treatment and enforcement in about equal parts.
Adams said the department did very well during its recent re-accreditation process through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies or CALEA and, but for a few minor things, he said the department scored very well.
As to accreditation, resident Dennis Lintz noted that during the CALEA public comment period, residents were given 10 minutes each for public comment, while the commission only allows two minutes of public comment for each person.
Lt. Allan Graton said that the length of time for CALEA is because the accreditation process only occurs every three to four years but the police commission meets every month.
Commissioner Thomas Tarr said he contacted about eight or nine other police commissions in the state and learned that on average, they allow between two and three minutes per person.
Lintz has attended nearly every meeting of the commission in the past two years. His primary complaint is the department's alleged use of confidential informants and thinks that cutting them breaks for their information somehow led to the death of one teenager and the serious injuries to another who were stuck by a car in 2013 on Messer Street.
To this end, Lintz has also peppered the department with Right to Know requests that have taken hundreds of man hours to process.
Nevertheless, Lintz said Thursday that he feels that a two-minute limit on public comment restricts his right to free speech.
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