CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- The Board of Selectmen hired a part-time patrolman last week and gave Police Chief Lester Fairbanks the nod to advertise for a full-time position as a way to fill the spot on the force made vacant by the departure of its lone detective.
The hiring of John Mousseau was approved during a Board of Selectmen meeting at Town Hall and Fairbanks will now use newspaper advertisements to hire a full-time patrolman. Mousseau has taken a job the chief has been trying to fill for five years and the best-qualified candidate will fill the void that was left when Detective David Eldridge took a lieutenant job in Hinsdale.
"I’m excited to come to this town and be a part of the department here," said Mousseau.
Fairbanks said Mousseau, a 17-year veteran of the Cheshire County Department of Corrections and a part-time officer in Hinsdale, is very capable of handling the job and likely will work two to three shifts a month.
The chief introduced Mousseau to the Selectmen at the beginning of the meeting before it entered a non-public session for the actual hiring.
Mousseau, who lives in Keene, told the board a little about himself, explaining he is the director of safety and security at the Department of Corrections and started working part-time in Hinsdale about four years ago.
"Chesterfield is where I’ve always wanted to be," he told the Selectmen. "I grew up here."
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Fairbanks said Mousseau will likely begin his Field Training Officer program within the next week.
"It’s a very rigid program to try as best as possible to make sure the person is trained and follows procedures before they go out on their own," the chief said. "It can take a year to get through that field program for a part-timer."
Full-timers take about six months, Fairbanks added.
Since the role of detective is reserved only for individuals with a certain degree of education and level of experience, the candidate that replaces Eldridge will not have the same job position. Fairbanks added the department’s payscale doesn’t offer enough to attract qualified detective applicants from other agencies.
Eldridge was the detective for three years and was hired when the number of burglaries and sexual assaults "went through the roof" and the cases sat on the patrolmans’ desk while they handled issues like dog complaints and domestic disputes.
"(Burglaries and sexual assaults) are the real deal and we weren’t really doing them well because the person doing them was pulled in too many different directions," Fairbanks said. "Dave did a fantastic job. He’s the most organized person I’ve ever met. It’ll be a blow (to the department) but I hope he does well following his dreams."
Eldridge was sworn in as lieutenant in Hinsdale on Monday, Aug. 27. Todd Faulkner was sworn in as chief of police.
"I’ve got some awful big shoes to fill but I have the confidence that we can do it," Eldridge said after the swearing-in. "I’ve had a lot of doors open up so I can excel and get more experience and this was kind of where I wanted to end up."