Belmont names Sean McCarty acting fire chief as Parenti leaves

BELMONT – Deputy Chief Sean McCarty has been named acting chief of the Fire Department.

The move happened in a specially convened session of the Selectboard last Friday, which was former Fire Chief David Parenti's last day. Parenti resigned to accept a job as a fire chief in Massachusetts.

McCarty has been deputy chief in Belmont for 8 ½ years and has been a full time firefighter for 15 years. He joined the Belmont Fire Department 20 years ago as a call/volunteer firefighter.

He holds a bachelor's degree in political science and is a certified firefighter through multiple classes taken through the New Hampshire Fire Academy. He is an advanced-level EMT.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the position of chief has been advertised through a number of trade magazines and the New Hampshire Municipal Association. She said yesterday that the application process is soon closing and selectmen will be starting the hiring process shortly.

Laconia Police use of force drops slightly (357)

LACONIA — City Police reported that the department's use of force statistics are down from last year and are on the low side of average for police departments in New Hampshire.

Capt. William Clary (Ret.) said overall the members of the department used force in 2 percent of its arrests, which is slightly down from last year.

He said of the 43 individuals who were arrested by force, two of them complained. He said one officer was found to not have obeyed department policy and a second officer required further training.

In its record keeping, the police department describes "use of force" as use of a firearm (0), use of a firearm on a animal (8), display of a firearm (18), baton strikes (0), use of a baton for control of a person (0), use of pepper spray (4), use of a closed fist during an arrest (3), use of an open hand during an arrest (46), deployment of a Taser (7), the display of a Taser (7), a knee strike (1), K-9 bites (2), and other types of force (9).

Of the 106 total uses of force, in nine of the 46 arrests where force was used, officers used more than one kind of force. Seven arrests had more than one officer using force.

Clary said Laconia's officers have received extra training and have been more effective using "verbal judo" than physical force to de-escalate many situations.

He said Laconia Police have always been in the 2 to 3 percent range for use of force where as other departments consider a 5 percent use of force during arrests as an acceptable standard. He said some departments in the state have been as high as 10 percent.

"For us, that is just too high," he said.

Clary also said that while all officers are trained on using a police baton, many are opting not to carry a night stick on their duty belts especially some of the smaller officers who don't have room on their belts. He said 2015 was the fourth year in a row that there have been no strikes with a baton.

He said the use of pepper spray has also declined and can be attributed to a slight increase in the use and displays of Tasers.

Derby on - Rotary Club says ice fishing derby will be held on schedule

MEREDITH — Members of the Meredith Rotary Club's Derby Committee remain confident that this year's Great Rotary Fishing Derby, scheduled for Feb. 13-14, will go as scheduled despite the current lack of ice cover on Lake Winnipesaukee, which has forced the New England Pond Hockey Classic to move its Feb. 5-7 event to Lake Waukewan.

"There is no plan to postpone the Derby. The Derby Committee meets weekly at this time of year because we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. The Derby has only been postponed once, in 2006, and it has never been canceled,'' said Donna Ulbricht, executive secretary of the club.
"Because we are headquartered on Meredith Bay, people think Lake Winnipesaukee is the only lake they can fish, but that is not correct. This is a statewide event, and fish can be entered from any public body of water," Ulbricht said.
She said committee members expect conditions to improve and ice to form faster once the strong winds the Lakes Region has experienced recently drop down.
"The runoff from Waukewan into Winnipesaukee has been slowed down," she said. "Waukewan is looking great. Lake Wicwas has bob houses on the ice, Lake Kanasatka, Ossipee, are looking good and Webster Lake is pretty solid. Alton Bay and Blackey's Cove look good. Alton has a bob house. Many coves on Squam Lake are also in good shape."
Ulbricht notes that with three weeks to go it appears that many coves and bays on Lake Winnipesaukee will be ready. "Center Harbor is quite protected and is in good shape. Both 19-Mile and 20-Mile Bay are expected to be in good shape for the Derby."
She maintains the club's Facebook page, which is updated many times a day, and said those seeking current information on ice conditions can find it there.

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