Canfield is sworn in

Laconia Police Dept. welcomes new chief


LACONIA — Matthew Canfield was sworn in as police chief Friday, and promised to continue the work of his predecessor in fostering community engagement and fighting the problem of drug abuse.
He succeeds Chris Adams, who is retiring after 23 years with the force.
“Chief Adams has not only brought this department into the forefront of modern policing, but has created and instituted programs such as the PET (prevention, enforcement, treatment) program to address the opioid crisis through non-traditional means,” Canfield said during the ceremony in Pitman’s Freight Room.
Canfield, 42, became interested in police work as a student at Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith.
He attended a part-time police academy as a high school senior, and began working as a part-time police officer at age 18 while attending college.
He was so young that Investigator Nick Houhoulis of the Liquor Commission recruited him to act as an undercover police officer in alcohol stings.
Canfield praised the department and its leaders, past and present.
“I am proud to say that the officers and employees of the Laconia Police Department are among the best of the best, who are caring individuals poised and ready to continue this pursuit of excellence in policing, and I am confident that they will do so with empathy, indness and compassion,” he said.

Canfield, a Laconia resident, will earn about $100,000 yearly as chief.  
After his speech, he elaborated on his thoughts about the best way to fight the opioid abuse, which has reached crisis proportions, including old drugs like heroin, and newer ones like fentanyl, and now carfentanil.
“I would certainly look at doing drug education in the schools,” he said. “We need to get to people before they ever have the opportunity to try drugs.
“Once someone is on drugs, it’s very hard to cure them, or heal them. So let’s work hard on putting a lot of resources into preventing drug use before they even have a chance to start.”
The ceremony included three other promotions.
Allan Graton, who has been with the department since 1997, was promoted to captain. He has been a field training officer, motorcycle officer, driving instructor and accident reconstructionist.
Mike Finogle, who has served with the department since 1999, was promoted to lieutenant. He has served as a watch commander and served 12 years as a K9 handler and drug recognition expert. He has also served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer.
Gary Allen, who has been a police officer since 2005, was promoted to sergeant. Allen, who joined the department in 2010, was previously a patrol officer and drug recognition expert as well as a field training officer.

04-29 Canfield pinning

Matt Canfield is pinned by his father, John Canfield, as he is sworn in as Laconia police chief at Pitman’s Freight Room on Friday. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

Meredith Planning Board to take a closer look at subdivision proposal


MEREDITH — Members of the Meredith Planning Board will take a closer look at a proposed four-lot subdivision proposed for a rural area off Meredith Neck Road near Powers Road.

At its meeting Tuesday, the board scheduled a site visit to the property on May 9. A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for May 23.

The subdivision, which is to include four five-acre lots, is being proposed by Faller Enterprises, which is owned by Meredith Public Works Director Michael Faller and his wife.

Faller said after the meeting he wants to make it clear that this proposal is unrelated to his longstanding job with the town.

"I want to build my house on one lot and possibly build another in a few years on another lot and sell off a lot or two," he said.

He also subdivided a six-acre piece of land nearby into two three-acre parcels. Spec houses are going up on those lots.

"We need growth," Faller said. "If it's done tastefully, which I feel I'm doing, it's helping the town."

He noted that fees associated with taking land out of current use provisions can provide support for the Conservation Commission, and new houses improve the town's property tax base.

Faller also said his proposed development will be on a private road, and as such won't create the need for additional town Public Works services.

State to consider amendment May 2 to allow police to release accident reports


The state Judiciary Committee has decided to address a new interpretation of the law that led police departments across the state to stop releasing accident reports, according to the New Hampshire Municipal Association Legislative Bulletin.

An amendment to HB 437 will clarify the authority of local police departments to release motor vehicle accident reports, said the bulletin.

Since 2000, police departments have relied upon a memorandum of understanding from the state commissioner of safety that allowed police departments to release such reports, but that changed late last year when the Attorney General's office ruled that the memorandum is not supported by law, and instructed police departments not to release accident reports. Those needing such reports, whether involved directly or insurance agencies or anyone else, would then have to ask the Department of Motor Vehicles for the reports.

Several police chiefs in the Lakes Region expressed concerns about the change of policy, which they suggest could inconvenience residents and insurers seeking accident reports as well as limit information they are entitled to disclose to the media.

As the bulletin article pointed out, "That presents a serious problem for individuals, who now have to deal with the state rather than their local police department; for police departments, which are prevented from helping their citizens; and for DMV, which now has many more requests to handle."

The bulletin said the amendment to HB 437 "addresses that by allowing police departments to release accident reports to operators, passengers, injured persons, and owners of property damaged in an accident; to provide information needed to identify drivers, vehicles, and owners of vehicles involved in an accident to emergency personnel; and to provide the name, age, and town of residence of persons involved in accidents under the Right-to-Know Law. In essence, it merely amends the law to conform to the practice that police departments have followed, with the state’s blessing and without any problems, for many years."

The hearing on the amendment is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2, at 9:30 a.m., in State House Room 100.