To The Daily Sun,
Did you see the NH1, TV report that named Bristol is one of the 14 most dangerous cities to live in in N.H., based on FBI statistics?
The failure of the Bristol police force to maintain a safe environment for the citizens of Bristol stems from a lack of accountability, standards and expectations set by the Selectboard, who are, after all, the managers of the town departments. This laissez-faire attitude of the selectmen toward the Police Department originated when the town adopted the "town manager" form of government that eliminated the then existing "Police Commission." When at Town Meeting voters rescinded the "town manager" form of government the Selectboard never assumed its lawful responsibility for oversight of the Police Department. Since that time the Police Department has grown into an unmanageable, autonomous, abomination that believes itself to be unanswerable to the taxpayers and citizens of Bristol.
The Police Department is a revolving door for entry level officers looking to get experience and certification at the expense of the Bristol taxpayer. The current police chief is a disaster, he states that he needs such a large full-time force (eleven full time for 3,000 residents) based on the influx of summer residents. Then he has the audacity to run a lawn care service (ML Landscaping) in his spare time.
The police chief is a full time contractual position, his salary is set on a yearly basis and should be fixed at the time his contract is negotiated; why he received a $5,000 dollar raise in the middle of his contract year is the epitome of poor management, it certainly wasn't warranted by his performance. The taxpayers of Bristol will be shelling out $80,018 for a police chief that has allowed Bristol to sink to one of New Hampshire's 14 most dangerous cities.
Time is long overdue for the Selectboard to step up and start managing the departments by setting goals and expectations and if they are unwilling, unable or unqualified to do so then they should step aside.
- Category: Letters
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