Bill Clary to retire from LPD

LACONIA — Police Commissioners accepted the retirement notice of Capt. William Clary yesterday in their regularly scheduled meeting.
Clary is a 28-year veteran of the department who spent his entire career in Laconia, rising through the ranks and performing nearly every patrol and detective job within the department. He is the head of the administrative wing and is also the head of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
Police Chief Chris Adams said Clary would be taking a job as an instructor at the Huot Technical Center for the Criminal Justice Program.
"The impact you've had (on the community) will go out even more," said newly elected Commission Chairman Doug Whittum. "The kids are very fortunate to have you go into that program."
Adams also said that one of their patrol officers has taken a job with the Manchester Police Department and that K-9 Officer Mike Armstrong has left the department to pursue a different career path.
Adams said he is committed to the K-9 program, is currently evaluating it, and will seek someone who is capable of taking the position.
He and Clary said they are looking into other agencies who can possible use K-9 Titan. Clary said he has spoken to a few police departments who may be interested in the dog.
Adams said there are 41 uniformed police officers positions, including command staff, within the department, and there are five openings. He also said they are anticipating the retirement of one of their sergeants and are holding internal promotional tests to determine who will next become part of the command staff.
He said the department has contacted 232 people who took and passed the standard written test for police work and invited them to apply for one of the open positions. He said 64 said they would come for the physical test, 29 of them actually came, and 24 of them passed the test.
The next step, said Adams, is the oral interviews and he hopes to get eight or nine acceptable candidates and perform background checks on them.
Before the meeting got underway, commissioners honored 16-year veteran Commissioner Warren Clement who retired this year. Clement said he was proud to have served as commissioner and noted he had served a total of four police chiefs.

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Former sheriff to be arraigned in Manchester

MANCHESTER – A former Belknap County Sheriff's deputy charged with raping a female prisoner he was transporting is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow morning in the Hillsborough North Superior Court.

E. Justin Blanchette, who is being represented by attorney Brad Davis of Franklin, can waive appearing at his arraignment. He is free on personal recognizance bail.

Blanchette is charged with engaging in sexual relations in Bedford with a local woman he was transporting from Belknap County to the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown.

The state asserts that Blanchette had custody over the alleged victim and "used that authority to coerce (her) to submit."

Blanchette was placed on paid administration leave on July 20 and resigned in August.

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A shiny new fire station - Firefighters move into the renovated Central Station, enjoy more storage space and even a brass fire pole

LACONIA — During a tour of Central Station yesterday, Fire Chief Ken Erickson, like a bride in a new home, pointed to closets everywhere he went. "We didn't have a single closet in the old station," he said. "Not one."

Erickson said the department has settled into its new administrative and living quarters, and renovation of the apparatus bay and training area of Central Station is expected to be complete by the end of next month.

"I'd say the administrative wing is nearly 100 percent complete," Erickson said. "We've had training sessions and set up the emergency operations center during the Pumpkin Festival. But we've got a lot stuff stored in here that belongs in the apparatus bay."

He added that despite overcoming the mysteries of the telephone and intercom systems the transition has gone smoothly. "We're no longer working around contractors," he said.

The chief stressed that the public entrance to Central Station is on the Tremont Street side of the building, where there are a number of parking spaces for visitors. He said that parking was scarce in the past, although architects, contractors and landlords frequently review plans with the Fire Prevention Division. "We're also the city health department, where people come with complaints about their living conditions," Erickson said.

Along with a reception area, the ground floor houses the offices of the chief and three deputies as well as the person who manages the billing for ambulance service. There is also what Erickson called "our library," where reference and educational materials are kept, a small private meeting meeting room and a room where building plan can be reviewed.

The emergency operations center, equipped with communications equipment, provides space for city officials from various departments to meet together and manage resources in the event of significant incident, like a heavy snow storm. "I remember having the city manager, police chief, director of public works, director of parks and recreation all practically on top of each other in my old office," Erickson recalled.

Finally, a large room, furnished with folding tables wired for computers and electricity, serves the Fire Department as a teaching room while doubling as a community room. It can be entered from either the front of rear of the building while remaining segregated from the remainder of the station. "The Rotary Club has asked about having lunch here," Erickson said.

Erickson described the foyer and corridor on the ground floor as a "walking museum," where photographs of the earliest fire brigades, which were associated with different factories in the city, and many of the fire chiefs, hang from the walls. There is even a framed copy of the front page of the "Winnipesaukee Gazette" reporting the "Great Conflagration," the fire that destroyed much of Main Street between Mill Street an Water Street on Nov. 21, 1860.

The living quarters, with separate accommodations and bathrooms for men and women, are on the second floor. The captain, Bob Landry, known for never missing a fire, warrants a single room, but it is three to a room in each of the each of the other ten. In addition, each shift has been assigned a closet to keep shared and personal items. A fully equipped kitchen, with two refrigerators, opens on to the firefighters' day room overlooking North Main Street.

What was once the chief's office, on the second floor above what was the main entrance, will serve as an office for the captain and lieutenants.

The brass pole that carries firefighters to the ground floor, which originally reached to the third floor of the old station, was cut to serve the new one. "Speed," said Erickson, who expects firefighters to be out the door between 60 second and 90 seconds of being called. The pole leads directly to the where the firefighters' boots and gear are stored, which in turn opens into the apparatus bay.

In place of the overhead doors, the glass paneled doors swing open, eliminating the need to ensure that the engine leaving the station will clear the doorway. Moreover, Erickson said that the new doors open five times faster than the old ones.

"Speed," he repeated.

Firefighters returning from either a fire, traffic accident or medical emergency can step directly into a decontamination ("de-con") room to remove any hazardous material or blood from their clothing or persons. Adjacent to the apparatus bay and below the officers' office there is another office where emergency medical personnel can complete their reports after completing an ambulance run.

The apparatus bay was expanded to add space for a fifth vehicle and an ell was added to the building where three light vehicles, including the truck used by the Community Emergency Response Team.

Finally, the top floor of the old station, which formerly housed the living quarters, will be converted by the firefighters to serve as space for training and fitness.

Erickson said that apart from providing the space the department requires, the renovated and expanded station is functionally much more efficient than its predecessor. "The guys can get directly to their gear and the fleet," he said, "without having to get through hallways and around equipment and vehicles."

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