Newport Police - Annual Report 2013
This is an excerpt from the mission statement of the Newport Police Department. I take great pride in serving our community and providing our residents and guests with the high quality of life, safety and security that we have come to expect. None of this would be possible if it were not for the support of the residents and our very dedicated and talented staff. It's the teamwork between the public and Town Departments that make Newport a better place. I specifically would like to thank every member of the Department and their families. It’s only through their hard work, dedication and many sacrifices that we are able to ensure that the mission of the department remains a reality.
2013 was a busy year for the Department and we have seen many changes in personnel. Retiring this year was Lt. Scott Hunt, who leaves law enforcement after 25 years of service. Scott served Newport in many roles, but most notably as School Resource Officer and later as Commander of the Detective Division. At the time of his retirement, Lt. Hunt was the Detective Division Commander and his vacancy was filled by Sgt. Ernest Rowe. Also, retiring in 2013 was Officer Michael J. Nelson. Mike started his career in Newport before leaving to pursue other opportunities in law enforcement, but came back and finished his career in Newport. Mike's law enforcement career now spans more than 20 years and he served Newport as a School Resource Officer and Patrol Officer. Officer Cara White also left full-time employment with the Town to pursue a career as an accountant. Officer White has served in a number of capacities ranging from Communications Specialist, Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer and as a Detective. I am pleased to report that even though Mike and Cara are opening up new chapters in their lives and careers; they both remain serving the Town and Department as part-time employees. Another staffing change came from the Communications Division. Communications Specialist Dustin Holmes has continued with his professional development, and accepted a position with our Fire Department. Holmes is now serving as a full-time Fire Fighter/EMT with the Newport Fire Department
So, with those full-time vacancies, we have new department members to introduce. First is Officer Joshua Boone. Joshua is a graduate of Stevens High School, and a graduate of River Valley Community College with an Associate in Science degree, majoring in Criminal Justice. In September, Officer Boone graduated as one of the top members of his academy class. Congratulations to Officer Boone. Also hired was Clayton Couitt. Clayton is a Newport native and a graduate of Newport High School, and a graduate of Norwich University with a Master's degree in International Business. Clayton remains a Captain in the United States Air Force Reserves. Officer Couitt will be attending the academy in the spring of 2014. The most recent hire is Officer James "Ethan" Yazinski. Ethan is a graduate of Stevens High School and will be graduating from Keene State College this May with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography. Ethan currently holds a part-time police certification and was employed by the New Hampshire Marine Patrol. Ethan will be attending the full-time academy in the fall of 2014. In the Communications Division, we welcome Communications Specialist Christopher Conroy. Chris is a Newport native and a graduate of Newport High School. Communications is nothing new for Chris as he has worked in and around emergency services his entire life and is also a volunteer member of the Newport Fire Department.
The Department remains staffed according to our current budget, however we are still unable to replace the position that was cut due to budget constraints back in 2009. In the five years since 2009 the overall budget of the Police Department has decreased by more than $16,500 dollars. Having a budget that does not increase, but actually goes down over such a long period of time, is almost unheard of. We have been able to achieve this by eliminating all non-essential personnel, reducing spending and updating equipment to ensure that we operate at maximum efficiency. However, as time has gone on, we are facing a reality and the inevitable truth that we will soon need to replace the unfunded patrol officer. Also a reality is our need to invest in the department's infrastructure, specifically our communications equipment. Currently, the Town's emergency communications equipment is in various stages of replacement, with several key components of the system operating or soon to be operating beyond the factory or dealer service life. Currently we are exploring grant opportunities, communications user fees and long term budget planning to ensure that our complete emergency communications system remains operational for the Police, Fire, EMS and Highway departments.
As I look back and reflect on 2013, it was a busy year for the staff of the Newport Police Department with many positive accomplishments. As a department we continued to struggle to keep up with the demands, as statistically we remain very active, having 16, 753 total calls for service in 2013. Across the state and New England there has been a consistent increase in criminal activity related to drug sales and use. The Newport Police Department has been and will remain a participating member of the Attorney General Drug Task Force. As an agency we remain committed to investigating all activity associated with illicit drug sales and use.
We have continued our long standing commitment to several statewide safety initiatives. One such initiative is "Operation Safe Commute". Operation Safe Commute is a collaborative effort between many departments in the state to provide additional patrols during commuting hours to reduce accidents and commuter related incidents. In addition we sought and received New Hampshire Highway Safety grant funding to add DWI and Speed Enforcement patrols at no cost to the community. We have also submitted grant requests to aid in and offset the cost associated with the replacement and upgrading of technology and safety equipment. In total, the Newport Police Department was awarded more than $67,000.00 dollars in grant funding in 2013.
As I conclude my yearly report, I wish to once again thank the Newport Community for making our Town such a special place. I also want to take the time to express my thanks for the men and women of this department who serve this Town with integrity and distinction. I am proud to lead such a dedicated and talented group.
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