Friday May 24, 2013

DOVER -- Police Chief Robert Edwards asked the Selectboard for permission to take money from a special drug forfeiture fund to buy a piece of equipment called total station.

"Basically, it’s a piece of surveying equipment," he explained. "It’s used for accident investigation as well as crime scenes."

On May 21, Edwards told the Dover Selectboard that the total station is expensive, especially to buy brand new. His plan was to buy it used from a trustworthy company that would ensure that it was refurbished and in good shape.

The total station is usually set up in one place and the scene is precisely drawn out on a computer. Its technology provides a detailed reconstruction of a scene of an accident or crime, with the data being stored electronically.

It also measures vertical and horizontal angles, while mounted on a tripod and includes an infrared electronic distance meter.

Edwards’ request was to use money from the Federal Drug Fund. He mentioned a time when the Police Department seized $20,000 from a house involved in the sale of drugs.

"It’s used for special things," said Edwards of the fund. "We’re using a little at a time."

The board agreed to allow Edwards to take $2,995 out of the forfeiture fund. He didn’t need to ask for permission to cover the other $2,000, which he planned to take out of the Police Department’s regular budget.


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Edwards told the Reformer he thought the total station would be in Dover within the month.

"We’ve been talking about it for awhile," he added. "We’re trying to build those capabilities in case we have an accident or anything like that, so we can do the best job possible."

Dover Police Officer Dave Hammack had approached Edwards about purchasing the total station equipment. Initially, it was over $6,000, so Edwards told him to "shop around" for a better price.

Hammack had been working as an accident reconstructionist. Edwards mentioned that State Police were impressed with his work on a fatality report.

"This guy’s detailed," said Edwards. "(Getting this) will keep him interested in what he’s doing."

Recently, Hammack has started worked on reconstructing motorcycle accidents.

Before the Selectboard meeting, the board went into executive session. When it came out, the board announced that Randy Johnson will take over as the Dover Police Chief, starting on Nov. 1.

Sgt. Johnson will be replacing Edwards, who announced his retirement and gave his letter of resignation on May 7.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.