The year 2013 was a year of celebration in Sandwich. First we would like to wish our town a Happy 250th Birthday! The year was full of fun filled events, keep sake souvenirs and a lot of community participation and pride. It was a birthday celebration second to none. Second, it was your Police Department’s 45th birthday as a full-time Police Department. The Town voted to hire a full-time chief in 1968. Third, the police department saw a decrease in almost all crime categories, in calls for service and arrests. This last item is not unique to Sandwich however; most area departments saw the same decreases.
One of the crime categories that I would like to talk about is burglary. This particular crime has had a heavy burden on the residents of Sandwich over the past several years. Between the years 2010 and 2012 there were 50 burglaries committed in Sandwich. In those years the police department was able to successfully prosecute 5 individuals that had a known connection in 19 of the 50 burglaries committed. In 2012 there were 23 burglaries investigated. In the wake of these burglaries, I announced that we had a group of dedicated volunteers to help us with our House Watch Program. These volunteers did an excellent job this past year. In 2013 the number of burglaries fell from 23 to 5 an 80% decrease, the lowest we have seen in five years. Other areas that saw decreases were: 22% reduction in crimes against persons, a 38% reduction in theft, a 54% reduction in vandalism and an 11% decrease overall.
In May the police department changed dispatch centers from the NH State Police to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. The police department had been dispatched by the NH State Police since 1978. The change was not driven by services provided, as the State Police continues to do a wonderful job, but by logistics. NH State Police now dispatches on daily basis from three separate locations; Troop E in Tamworth, Troop F in Twin Mountain and at State Police Headquarters in Concord. By changing dispatch centers, this provides more consistency of service to our residents. The cost for the switch over was nominal and the department was actually able to discontinue a phone line. The switch over on May 1 occurred with no interruption of service to you.
The police department also saw a personnel change within the department. Long-time officer Joe Canfield resigned from the department in August, to take a position with the NH Fish and Game Dept. Officer Canfield started with the department as a part-time officer in 1998. Officer Canfield then has the distinction of being the third officer to attend the full-time police academy for Sandwich. Officer Canfield had a short hiatus from the department from 2001 to 2004 when he re-joined the department as a part-time officer. We wish him well in his new job and thank him for all of his years of dedicated service to the Town of Sandwich.
In September the department hired Stephen Rowe as a part-time officer. Steve is a full-time deputy sheriff with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. Officer Rowe has 17 years of law enforcement experience and is a graduate of the 105th Session of the NH Police Academy.
In maintaining professional standards Sgt. Varney and I attended training courses in the following areas: DWI Prosecution, NH Highway Safety Conference, Anti-Police Groups and Protests, Leading By Legacy (Management), and Critical Incident Management.
The Police Department once again received additional funding with patrol and enforcement grants through the NH Highway Safety Agency and the US Forest Service. Together these two grants added almost $7,000.00 in additional funding that allowed for extra patrols during the spring, summer and fall. The Police Department will be applying for this funding again in 2014.
In addition to our law enforcement duties, we continue to serve the needs of the residents of Sandwich by delivering several community programs: Project Good Morning, Driver Education, DARE, Annual Toy Drive, Bicycle Safety and the Ice Cream Ticket Program and the House Watch Program.
In closing I would like to thank the other members of the Town of Sandwich Team; Selectmen’s Office, Town Clerk’s Office, Fire Department, Highway Department, Parks and Recreation, Library and Transfer Station. In addition we would like to thank our law enforcement partners: Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, NH State Police and the Moultonborough Police Department for the assistance they have provided us over the past year. Finally and most importantly, thank you to all of you for continued support of your police department.
Douglas F. Wyman, Jr.
Chief of Police