CONCORD — The recent release of the names of police officers in the state who were — through no fault of their own — not certified to perform Intoxilyzer tests indicates that four officers in Belknap County were affected. None of them have any cases that were jeopardy according to state officials.
The certification issues, said state officials, stemmed from an glitch in the online recertification process. The online test had two components: the completion of a virtual Intoxylizer test and the completion of the refusal process. The state learned that if an officer chose to take the refusal process first, he or she could bypass the Intoxlyzer portion and still get a passing grade. The state is no longer using the online recertification process.
Laconia Det. Dan Carsen was one of them. Capt. Bill Clary said yesterday that because of his general duties, Carsen rarely if ever performs Intoxilyzer tests and should he make a DWI stop, there are generally other police officers on duty who are certified.
"We always have the option to take someone to the hospital for a blood test," said Clary explaining that a person who has been arrested for DWI can refuse any testing but the kind of test — Intoxylizer or blood — is at the discretion of the supervisor at the time.
Clary said the vast majority of the city's officers are certified and since there were no open cases involving Carson, he wasn't overly worried.
Gilford Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee said last week that one of his officers was affected and had three cases that were possibly impacted, however no officers who were on the Attorney Generals' release were from Gilford. He said Sgt. Prosecuter Eric Bredbury was working with the defense lawyers in all three instances.
The other three Belknap County officers were Sgt. Ernest "Justin" Blanchette, who was properly re-certified on December 15, 2014, and Andrew Salmon and Mathew Dawson of the Tilton Police Department. Salmon was recertified in April of 2015 and Dawson has yet to recertify. None of these officers have any arrests that were called into question.
Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice made the list of officers available after a coalition of defense attorneys learned of the anomaly and petitioned a court for the names of the officers involved.
Rice also disclosed that there is another anomaly with the testing and "there is a remote possibility" that some officer who took the online test and received a passing score of 12 could have been given credit for a question he or she was not entitled to.
She said the vendor has no way of identifying them and the Department of Safety "views passing scores as valid."
She said that she is working with the vendor and will be disclosing the names of all officers who scored a 12 in the future.
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