Four police officers in Belknap County affected by faulty DWI test certification process

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.

Police Commission meetings moving to City Hall in order to be on television

LACONIA — As part of a push by city officials to have all city meetings broadcast on Lakes Region Public Access Television, the Police Commission will be holding its monthly meeting in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, which is equipped for recording.

Capt. Bill Clary said the commission agreed in its May meeting that airing the meetings to the general public would be a good idea. He added that for those who want to attend a Police Commission meeting, there is more space in the City Council Chambers than in the LPD Community Room.

Although the Commission typically meets on the third Thursday of the month at 3 p.m., in June it meets on the fourth Thursday (or tomorrow) so police management can provide a review of the annual Motorcycle Week.

Along with its regular agenda, this week's meeting is scheduled to feature Lt. Rich Simmons who, along with a select team of officers, detectives, civilians and dispatchers, has prepared a policing project about suicide prevention.

In other police news, Chief Christopher Adams said he has tentatively scheduled his next "Coffee with a Cop" event for 10 a.m. on July 16 at Wayfarer's Coffee Roasters on Main Street. These events are for Adams and an officer of his choice to spend an hour in an open forum to answer questions residents may have about local policing, neighborhood issues, and any other general questions. The first was held about two months ago at My Coffee Shop and  was very well attended.

This year, two of the three Commission seats are scheduled for election. Incumbent Warren Clement said yesterday that at this point in time he is planning on seeking another three-year term. Commissioner Doug Whittum couldn't be reached for comment. The sign-up period for all city elections is in early August.

Search continues for missing Massachusetts fisherman (405)

GILFORD — The search for missing boater Domenic Tringale, 63, of Chelmsford, Mass., continued all day yesterday.

Search efforts are concentrated on the east side of Governors Island in Lake Winnipesaukee, said Marine Patrol Sgt. Crystal McLain and Sgt. Brad Morse.

Tringale's identity was released yesterday, three days after his boat was found going around in circles with only his dog on board. McLain said Marine Patrol officers were unable to safely board the 17-foot craft, but at some point the outboard engine either stalled or it ran out of gas and stopped. She said the dog was unharmed and returned to Tringale's relatives.

As to the status of the search, McLain said that as this point it is being classified by the N.H. Department of Fish and Game as a recovery search and not a rescue search.

"Nobody saw it occur," McLain said when asked if the investigating departments had been able to determine what happened to Tringale. "According to family members, he would head out (to go fishing) early in the morning and return to the east side of Governor's Island between 9:30 or 10 a.m."

"We believe he was returning from his morning of fishing," she said.

McLain said the call for the circling boat came at 9:34 a.m. Saturday morning and triggered a massive grid search using boats from the Marine Patrol, Gilford and Laconia Fire Departments, and divers from the Marine Patrol and the Department of Fish and Game.

As of yesterday, Morse said there were no longer divers in the water. He said they began yesterday using the Laconia Fire Department's side-scan sonar and by noon the Maine Warden Service came to the area with a more sophisticated and larger side-scan sonar unit.

"Maine said they would stay through tomorrow," Morse said.

Morse also said they are using a remote-controlled mini-submarine unit to search for Tringale. He also said that at one point they were assisted by a State Police helicopter.

When asked if the Marine Patrol had examined the boat, she said they had been concentrating all their resources on the search, but the boat is secured and will be examined.

McLain said they have had some leads, including a kayaker who saw McLain fishing before he and his boat were separated. She said they used the kayaker's information that was reported to them on Sunday about his location to try and narrow the search.

McLain and Morse both said the search will continue today.

Tom Volpe in 'satisfactory' condition at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

LACONIA —Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center media officials said yesterday that insurance executive Tom Volpe is in "satisfactory condition"  and remains in the Lebanon hospital.

He is reported to have facial injuries, a back injury, and a punctured lung.

Volpe's plane crashed at 8:30 a.m. Thursday shortly after he took off from the private airstrip he has on his Hadley Road property. The plane, a Piper Tri-Pacer, crashed in a field about 500 feet southwest of the airstrip.

Volpe, 80, is an avid plane enthusiast who served on the Laconia Airport Authority and who owns two planes. He is the president of Melcher & Prescott Insurance Agency in Laconia and has been the principal owner of the company since 1959.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) removed the plane from Volpe's field late Thursday and is investigating the crash.