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Force used during only 2.5% of arrests made by Laconia police

LACONIA — City police reported a 2013 decrease in the percentage of times they needed to use force during an arrest in the annual update to the Police Commission yesterday.

Capt. Bill Clary said the of the 1,377 arrests made by police last year, police used force in 36 incidents, or 2.5 percent of the time. In some of the those incidents, multiple police officers filed a use of force report, meaning multiple officer were there and used force.

In Laconia, a use of force is defined as anytime an officer displays his or her weapons, deploys any of his or her weapons, or puts their hands on an individual in order to make an arrest. With the exceptions of shooting an animal, he said there were no firearms discharges.

Clary credits the department becoming certified by the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation for providing educational tools to reduce the number of use of force incidents in the department.

He said the historical average is about 3 percent.

During the review process, one report resulted in an Initial Personnel Complaint which was investigated internally and conduct was determined not to be improper.

In addition, Clary said an internal "early warning system" triggered one investigation when an officer had five displays of his or her weapons. He said two officers last year hit the five displays level. One had 11 reported uses and one had six reported uses. No other officers had more than four.

Clary also reported that over last year, five officers were suspended, one received a letter of reprimand and one report of unsatisfactory performance was investigated and found to be unfounded.

The five suspensions were one each for a violation of request for assistance, one for unsatisfactory performance, one for use of department equipment, one for courtesy, and one for violations of the rules.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:29

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Proposed Shaker budget up just half percent

BELMONT — The Shaker Regional School Board approved a $21-million budget proposal Tuesday night that represents a 0.55 percent increase for school year 2014-2015.

The final proposed amount is $21,071,598, which is up $114,589 from the $20,957,009 that was approved by district voters last year.

The amount to be raised by taxes in Belmont is projected at $8,552,487, or 0.06 percent — up from this year's budget of $8,547,108. In Canterbury, the amount to be raised by taxes in school year 2024-2015 is projected at $245,362,196 up 10 percent from this school year.

In 2014-15, Belmont taxpayers will pay for 74.8 percent of budget while Canterbury will pay 25.2 percent.

School District Business Administrator Deb Thompson said the reason Belmont's percentage of the amount to be raised by taxes fell and Canterbury's rose is because of equalized property value changes — or that portion of the contribution formula that takes into account the total value of the property in both towns.

Belmont's total valuation is expected to drop, lessening the amount of total valuation they its contribution to to the district for 2015. Conversely, Canterbury's total valuation is expected to increase. The net decrease to Belmont taxpayers is $142,000.

About 80 percent of the students enrolled in district schools are from Belmont.

These shifts in percentages also change the way the state apportions it's statewide property tax distributions.

Thompson said proposed budget includes $160,000 for curriculum and incorporates an effective net increase of 11.2 percent for health insurance premiums.

One way the district was able to save some money next year was the announced retirement of six retirement-eligible teachers this year. Thompson anticipates those position will be filled by teachers who are not in the top rungs of the pay-scale ladder.

This year's budget is also the first budget since the bond for the high school has been retired.

There are no capital projects included in this year's proposed budget and the only warrant article to date is for $50,000 of any budget surplus from next year to be moved into the School Facilities and Expendable Trust Fund.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:25

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BNH CEO Primeau sounds warning on state's economy

MEREDITH — New Hampshire and the Lakes Region can no longer count on steady growth in population and the economy to take place and the state will have to reinvent and redefine the so-called New Hampshire Advantage if it is to recapture its position as a prosperous and growing state.
That was the message Mark Primeau, president and CEO of the Bank of New Hampshire, brought to the annual meeting of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce held at Church Landing here yesterday.
Primeau said that New Hampshire has had it good ever since the 1970s and that it was ''almost too good and too easy'' for a long time.
Now, faced with a declining job quality and population growth which is essentially flat, Primeau said that it will take hard work and leadership to regain the kind of growth the state has for so long taken for granted.
''Manufacturing used to be the largest employer. Now it is Walmart. Most of our new jobs have lower average wages. Manufacturing and high tech jobs pay far more than retail and service sector jobs,'' said Primeau, who pointed out that the state's economic growth lags behind all other states in New England except for Maine and that New Hampshire is still 10,000 jobs below it's 2008 peak.
He said that when he last addressed the Chamber two years ago he had ticked off a list of superlatives about the state, including the highest standard of living, lowest poverty rate, low unemployment rate, best place to raise a child and high median family income income.
''All those superlatives are still true, but N.H. has come out of a long recession in a far different place. After steady and strong growth for several decades, the game has changed and we face major challenges that we cannot avoid,'' said Primeau.
He said that income growth will be harder to achieve and that nearly all of all the state's growth will be taking place in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties, in the southern tier.
''Slower population growth, slower job growth, lower quality jobs and an aging population equals lower income growth, more underemployment and a lower overall quality of life,'' said Primeau.
He said that Belknap County and the Lakes Region face particularly difficult adjustments, along with other rural New Hampshire counties. ''We really are in many ways two states, the South, Seacoast and Upper Valley and everybody else.''
Primeau said business drives the economy and creates growth and a higher standard of living and the state's leaders ''have to make business the priority to ensure a climate for business that will ensure our long-term success.''
He said that, despite the challenges, he is optimistic that the state can regain its footing and move ahead and that will take the support of Chambers of Commerce, government leaders and policy makers, concluding his remarks by saying ''we must commit to making New Hampshire the best place to do business in our great country and regain the growth we so long took for granted.''

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:22

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Alleged meth lab busted across street from Northfield School

NORTHFIELD — Police arrested six people yesterday morning in a methamphetamine drug raid that triggered a 30-minute lock down of a nearby elementary school.

Union Elementary School, which sits directly across the street from the 14-unit apartment building, was locked down from 9 to 9:30 a.m., during the actual raid.

"We were prepared to evacuate the school if we had needed to," said Northfield Police Sergeant Jennifer Adams.

Arrested and charged with with one count each of conspiracy to produce methamphetamine and one count each of manufacturing methamphetamine were Jason Buckley, 36, Janell Dubriell, 25, Amanda Warner, 27, and Brian Bateman, 25, all of 6 Elm Street and Joseph Cole, 24, of Boscawen. Anthony Ottati, 23, of West Street in Tilton was charged with one felony count of criminal liability for the conduct of another.

Adams said the investigation began on December 31 when the Northfield Police received information from a concerned citizen about suspicious activity in the building. She said Tilton Police had also gotten similar reports.

She said there was also information that a child was being potentially exposed to the meth-making process. Warner has also been charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Adams said officers from Northfield, Tilton, Franklin, Belmont, Sanbornton, the Merrimack and Belknap County Sheriffs' Offices as well as the N.H. Clandestine Drug Unit and the federal DEA conducted the raid.

Police timed the raid such that the minor child was out of the home before police entered.

Adams said no one was injured and none of the six people arrested yesterday put up any kind of resistance.

Evidence seized in the raid included items used to manufacture methamphetamine. When asked if any other drugs or weapons were seized, Adams said that to the best of her knowledge there were not.

Winnisquam Regional School District Superintendent Tammy Davis said that top level administrators were notified about the raid and knew ahead of time that the Union School campus was to be secured.

Once the raid was over, she said the district sent e-mails to building administrators and school board members telling them what happened. She said building administrators made phone calls to all of the parents of the children who were in the Union School yesterday.

Adams said the investigation continues and additional charges against the six people who arrested may be forthcoming. She said all refused bail and are scheduled to appear in the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division today.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 02:18

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