The Hinsdale Police Department on Old River Road. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
The Hinsdale Police Department on Old River Road. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
Friday January 18, 2013

HINSDALE, N.H. -- The town's police department has a handful of positions open and hopes to begin testing all candidates next month.

Hinsdale Police Chief Todd Faulkner said some of the department's officers found opportunities in other towns, resulting in the availability of three full-time positions and two part-time spots. He said anyone interested in the jobs should submit an application as soon as possible.

He said filling the full-time positions takes priority.

Faulkner told the Reformer the reduction in manpower in no way means the town is at a greater threat, as the department still has several qualified officers. He said the process of handling calls will remain the same. The only difference to the department, the chief said, is the scheduling of shifts.

Faulkner hopes to begin testing in February. He said the testing process starts with a resume review, which is followed by an agility test identical to the one made mandatory at the state's police academy. Candidates are then subjected to an oral interview with a board comprised of police officers and members of the public.

The ones that pass the board's approval will have a meeting with the chief and, if he concurs with the board's decision, he seeks approval from the Board of Selectmen. Lt. David Eldridge then conducts a background check that includes a polygraph test and psychological investigations.

Faulkner also attended the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen meeting Monday, where a new station for his department was discussed.

The department has operated out of a temporary facility on River Road since the 1980s, though the board recently opted to accept a land donation to construct a more adequate home for the town's police force.

Lewis Major owns the building at 8-10 Main St. and rented out the store space to Nafiz Alkhatib, who ran a convenience store out of the first floor until August, when a two-alarm fire broke out in an uninhabited apartment on the second floor. No one was harmed in the blaze but Hinsdale Fire Chief Jay Matuszewski said the building suffered some water damage after firefighters from various departments extinguished the flames and the store has not reopened.

Major and his wife decided soon after the fire they wanted to donate the land to the town for the purpose of building a new station. Public hearings were held on Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 and the town's planning board voted unanimously to recommend the donation to the selectmen at a meeting two weeks ago.

Major previously told the Reformer he chose to donate the land because he feels he is getting too old to be a landlord and he no longer wants to deal with the responsibilities. He said he was born and raised in Hinsdale and was interested in doing something nice for the town.

At the public hearing on Nov. 26, Town Administrator Jill Collins said the town would like to purchase the former veterinary clinic next door to Major's building for $38,000 to $39,000 so the police station would have more space to expand. She said the demolition of the two current buildings should cost about $55,000 to $57,000 and the Hinsdale Highway Department would do the ground work and set up the site. She also said the demolition of a small building behind the property would likely cost $3,000. She said Major's property is about a half-acre.

Selectman Mike Darcy told the Reformer the police building committee and architect Peter Tennant also attended Monday's meeting. He said the station's conceptual design and potential footprint were discussed. The selectmen determined a garage would be necessary, as having unguarded police cruisers on Main Street could invite trouble.

Darcy said Tennant has been tasked with determining the construction cost and cost per square foot before a bond meeting scheduled for Monday, Jan. 28. The bond meeting, Darcy said, will be used to introduce the figures to the public.

He said citizens will have the chance during March's election to vote on approval of the price tag coming with the building's development.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.