HINSDALE, N.H. -- During Monday night's Board of Selectmen meeting, Hinsdale Police Department Interim Chief Lt. Todd Faulkner gave an update on the local police department's activities and said the department is overwhelmed.
"We're in our busy season right now. We're drowning. The life vests aren't working. We can't tread water anymore," he said. "The case load is up significantly. We're down officers. Part-timers are filling in astronomically right now."
Faulkner said the department is seeing between two and four child-related cases every week and each one needs to be investigated. He said there is also an increase in motor vehicle stops that result in arrests as well as fraud cases.
He said motor vehicle crashes, which he has seen a lot of lately, take time to investigate thoroughly.
"On any given day when I come into work, I have about 100 to 120 reports to review," he said. "And that's after I clear them out the day before."
Following the report, the board voted unanimously to grant a request by Faulkner for money he requested to buy specialized equipment to assist in the forensic processing of mobile devices.
All five selectmen agreed to provide Faulkner with the $1,700 he identified as necessary for the purchase, which he said he will make right away.
"This will now allow me to process a vast array of mobile phones forensically to retrieve deleted data and any forensic evidence applied to one of our
Hinsdale houses one of six Internet Crimes Against Children, or ICAC, labs in the state. They do forensic processing of computer devices and mobile phone devices, Faulkner said.
After the motion was made and seconded, Selectman Richard Schill asked how many of Faulkner's cases are Hinsdale-based, as opposed to coming from other towns and outside agencies.
"We're a small town and we have to be very savvy with the way we spend our taxpayers' money," he said, adding that he hoped Hinsdale does not do a lot of processing for towns like Keene, which have much more tax revenue than his town. "I don't want to see us get into a situation where we're funding this for the state or for the federal government when they should be funding it."
He expressed concern that the requested $1,700 would soon turn into more substantial figures.
Faulkner said 68.5 percent of cases since 2008 have been Hinsdale cases. He said the other 31.5 percent involve Hinsdale assisting other agencies, working on another agency's case or transferring a case.
Faulkner also told the selectmen that he recently received a grant from Walmart and the state for three new portable radios that will allow officers to communicate with Vermont agencies without switching radios.
In other business:
-- After Faulkner left, a Robbins Street resident addressed the board.
He said he could hear only portions of what the lieutenant was saying. He suggested the selectmen request anyone addressing the board to stand up and project their voice. He also said he could hear some of the selectmen but not others.
He said it would be nice if there was some amplification in the Welfare Room, where meetings are held.
Chairman John Smith he made a good point and recommendation.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.