During the production and ongoing production of 9 hours in the last six months of an expose of a suburban town profiled by an individual who was raised one way of perceiving the town, and then witnessing it; has put a lot of emotional and personal against Londonderry.
I cringe when I go to Ltown. It’s not the town I once grew up. There’s something not right when I see biga– condos that back in the 2000s, the town was notoriously known for “McMansion” housing.
I can’t even recognize what’s residential and what’s commercial anymore.
But what I do know during my lifetime, there was one institution that should be looked upon as a department to aspire. That is the Londonderry Police Department.
It’s ironic the seal resembles the Feds, but yet they don’t operate like a micro FBI. I am not a “Blue Lives Matter” type of guy, nor do I endorse all of what Black Lives Matter, though I say “All Lives Matter [when Black lives do]”. Remember minorities are at greater risk of being falsely punished for crime, even if the crime is legit. Put it another way, if a Caucasian did the same crime, the police won’t immediately do “Order” over “Law &”.
That’s actually what I missed, and saw from afar when I moved. The head of the LPD, Chief William Hart was once a town prosecutor; and later became a defense attorney, then went into law enforcement. I always felt a great defense attorney was once a prosecutor because you’ll most likely be on your side, as they’ll dig you like a prosecutor. It’s sucky in the moment, but in the long term…
Most of the LPD officers when I was living across the river was decent individuals. We had many instances with LPD over my lifetime over where I am now with Merrimack. We had two burglaries in 1994 and 2007; my mother got into a wreck or two (Chief Hart had been the town prosecutor at the time when she had her encounter with him.)
For me the closest I was to him was probably in a town council meeting in the 00s, but if one of us had to ID each other, we probably wouldn’t need much introducing.
- Londonderry is a town to a police department that is envy to New Hampshire
- The LPD has a seal that may be mistaken with the FBI, but the department is not even close to what many perceive the federal agency to be
- The department head once was prosecutor and defense attorney. make fun of lawyers all you want, but heck, a lawyer of that order of carrier path is the best
- the officers are trained well past the tactical garbage, and appear to have criminal justice education.
- The town is smaller than say Merrimack by population and sq mileage
- Merrimack touts themselves as fighting a drug war, while Londonderry taught the DARE framework, the anti-drug program. Seemed to work in Ltown… what happened out west?
- LPD does not function as a “Law & Order”; and like the TV series, its “equal but separate”, some towns think mixing both will lead to better results, if people prefer aggressive policing, that may lead into what so many have been seeing on screens for the last few years.
- As someone whose at risk with his life long autistic condition; never was my name or likeness ever been logged in any database, criminal or non criminal. I didn’t understand what being at risk of “breaking the law” meant till I left Ltown. (This tells you a lot about “tolerance” to dev/mental disabled/disordered population.)
In my experience in my teenage to 23, was not much to report on; and when I did have encounters, they were all graceful. Part of this is what I believe that Londonderry hires the best, and will afford to pay them well, if they are qualified (re: college educated people with justice majors.) As much I criticize college educated folks in professions, law enforcement, is a profession. Here in Merrimack, NH; the “cops” act a bit above the standard Mall Cop stereotype. Merrimack is larger than Londonderry by both square mileage and population.
In short, some would completely laugh at the idea of officers with required expectation of tolerance, of which Londonderry Police does not hide. There is clearly a sympathetic on the low level offenses, or just the overall community for those who never had to deal with law enforcement. In Merrimack, if you go on a town owned walk way encouraging locals to not LIUB every April 2nd, that involves a full fledged police report, because not only that, carrying a DSLR camera and pointing it 50′ away is somewhat sketchy that must mean I am a drug dealer?
I make this illogical statement because MPD prides themselves on “fighting the drug war” today! Wait wasn’t that defeated by the end of the 1980s? Isn’t that before-my-time? DARE was the town’s focus on drug control; one of those was Officer Dan Bouchard and he was known in the schools in Londonderry while I was growing up, he was a generations School Resource Officer as well as teaching the DARE framework. While I was not in district, I did feel a bit timid of him for a number of years before. Sadly, I feared the wrong force. There were other towns well into adulthood I should’ve been concerned. And with DARE? It worked, just the peers did a lot of underage drinking and other weird stuff.
“Officer Dan” or LPD in general was (and still is) an anti-aggressive department. Merrimack on the other hand prides themselves as aggressive and citizens are ordered to bow down to them in loyalty. I really thing aggressive police force doesn’t solve the problem if most of the force are barely trained on everything other than tactical and FBI-styled training (the current head Primary PSAP at the State Police had bragged about his militant styled training on his LinkedIn)
Where I live now, officers act like heroes, they are acting as surveillance officers, as the dispatch center is understaff and it appears they don’t like to take direction of the dispatchers. Meaning, they are reacting to crime in the moment by surveilling than taking an active situation from a dispatcher. I see a much drastic difference between a cop that is “hunting” for crime than an officer who is at base and charges out to town in their current Ford cruisers because there’s a situation that needs to be addressed.
Despite being a Millenial low class dude; and being half Japanese and Caucasian, the LPD wouldn’t discriminate or treat any of their residents (even the upper class types) any different. Merrimack on the other hand, if you do not look like the stereotypical New Hampshirite, you could in theory be pulled over more than once in a single week. In fact this individual was once a classmate who grew up in Ltown and lived in Mtown for a while.
I am not trying to trash or lionize either department, it’s a matter of perspective. A perspective I miss a lot after reflecting during the war on blue the last few years. And to be honest, a rational person could understand this.
One last thing I would say is on some lawns outside of political seasons, in Merrimack, signs that say “Support the Merrimack Police Department” in some authoritative, in your face font and color style, while some resident made signs for “Londonderry Loves their Officers” was done in a humane way. In fact I prefer the latter, because a) it had an inviting tone, b) it didn’t look like was done by the union, of which if you want to defend a union, you go aggressive.
I’ve hear antidotal claims about Ltown’s police force, but I’ve never heard the stuff I heard about Merrimack. So yeah, this department of interest would never be considered by locals against the department to be seen as “creepy”.
All lives matter in the spirit of the Londonderry Police Department; if you look at law enforcement blind like in the justice system. It’s very implicit and doesn’t deserve any explicit marketing. As I had more inexperiences later in adulthood, and what occurred to me with Merrimack’s force 6 years to the day; I started to realize this department is underrated. It’s one the most missing institutions I later look back and could say safely I could trust.