Laconia Police Dept. welcomes new chief
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
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.
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)
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