LACONIA — Sgt. Robert Nedeau, who has served full-time in local law enforcement for 18 years, has been named chief deputy at the Belknap County Sheriff’s Department, filling the job left by David Perkins, who resigned in June after unexplained investigations and a suspension with pay.
Sherriff Mike Moyer said he chose Nedeau, who has worked at the department since 2014, after soliciting applications from current staff, which netted two candidates. Sgt. Bill Wright, who is running in November to replace Moyer, who is retiring, did not apply.
“I was confident enough in our in-house candidates to choose from within,” Moyer said Wednesday. “I thought he was the best candidate. He’s worked a number of years at the department. He’s a hard worker and he’ll fit in great. He’s very well respected with the (police) chiefs and towns in the county. He’s very knowledgeable about civil process as well as the criminal aspect of the job.”
Nedeau, 42, of Meredith, served on police departments in Center Harbor and Meredith before joining the sheriff’s office six years ago, and becoming sergeant for the civil division.
He said he particularly looks forward to interacting with local police departments and increasing the community presence of the sheriff’s office.
“The place you can make the most positive changes is in the number two position. I’ll have the ear of my boss and still have input from the guys below. I’ll still work with local police departments, but now I have the ability to talk to chiefs and worth on things together, and to be involved and help out” during community events. Although town residents call local police first, “We can handle crimes in any town, and handle what local police departments do,” he said.
The role of chief deputy includes overseeing department supervisors, assisting with budgeting and filling in as sheriff when the sheriff is not in the office.
“In this day and age, it’s very important to get out in the community and have positive interaction,” said Nedeau. “I tend not to believe people are as bad as they’re portrayed sometimes. It’s important to get out in the community and let people know we’re there for them.”
While calls for defunding police departments in cities around the country have rattled residents and business owners and resulted in increased violence, “I’m feeling the majority of people here still support us. The majority of people like to see us out and talk. It doesn’t have to be a car stop or something bad. It can be a conversation with someone on the street, and it’s important to have those,” Nedeau said.
“We’re not immune” to the problems in other law enforcement agencies and communities, “but it’s a little different in the Northeast than it is in the rest of the country.” Nedeau said area residents comment, “We really appreciate you guys. We really appreciate what you’re doing.”
“The sheriff’s department is in a weird situation right now. Our office isn’t how it’s often portrayed,” Nedeau said. “We’re happy at our department and we all get along. I love working here, just watching the department advance and keep doing good things.”