After 23 years, Faulkner to leave Hinsdale police force

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HINSDALE, N.H. — Todd Faulkner has been with the Hinsdale Police Department since 1996, starting out as a patrol officer, working his way up to chief of police in 2012.

On Monday night, Faulkner told the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen he was resigning to take a position as a lieutenant with the Cheshire County Sheriff's Office, effective Jan. 6.

"I will continue my work in bringing those who prey on children to justice," Faulkner said, reading from his resignation letter.

"With regret we accept your resignation and wish you the best in your future endeavors and the path you are taking," said Mike Darcy, chairman of the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen.

As part of his new responsibilities, Faulkner will be state supervisor as second in command of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in charge of field operations, search warrants, criminal investigations, digital forensics and review and oversight of all investigations. Faulkner will also be responsible for training, giving testimony to the state Legislature testimony, giving law enforcement presentations to include community education. He will also take on special assignments for advanced cases.

Faulkner will be based out of the Cheshire County Sheriff's Office with a secondary office at the Federal Building in Manchester.

Faulkner was appointed chief on July 2, 2012. During his time in Hinsdale, Faulkner has held the rank of senior patrolman, sergeant, and detective lieutenant. He has investigated more than 1,000 child physical and sexual abuse cases and hundreds of computer-related crimes.

Faulkner grew up in southeastern Vermont, in Brattleboro and Vernon, attended Brattleboro Union High School and began his career in law enforcement in 1990 when he graduated from the Vermont Police Academy. After graduating from Southern Maine Technical College with a degree in criminology, he went to work in nuclear security at the former Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon from 1992 until 1996, when he joined the Hinsdale Police Department as a patrolman.

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During the Monday meeting, Det. Melissa Evans was promoted to lieutenant. If the board doesn't hire a new chief or bring someone on in an interim position, she will take over the duties of the chief. Evans has been with the Hinsdale Police Department for two-and-a-half years. Before that, she spent eight years with the Windham County Sheriff's Office.

Currently, the Hinsdale Police Department has six officers, including Faulkner. On Wednesday, that number will drop to five with the departure of Paul Samataro, who is taking a position with the Windham County Sheriff's Office, which is based in Newfane, Vt. Samataro is the handler for K9 Binx. It is unknown at this time if Binx will stay with Hinsdale or travel with Samataro to Newfane.

That leaves the department understaffed by five positions.

Faulkner said Hinsdale, like many towns its size, is struggling to fill positions on its police department because it can't offer the same starting pay as larger cities in the region. For instance, he said, while Hinsdale starts at $20 an hour, the Keene Police Department starts at $57,000 with a $10,000 sign-on bonus and relocation costs.

"And even they are having trouble getting officers," he said.

Also at Monday night's meeting were Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera, Chesterfield Police Chief Duane Chickering and N.H. State Police Troop C Commander Lt. Michael Kokoski to discuss in a non-public session of the meeting the security needs of Hinsdale.

Kokoski told the Reformer it would be highly unusual for the New Hampshire State Police to sign a contract with a town the town of Hinsdale to provide extra patrol officers while it's short-staffed. Normally, the state police only contracts with small towns that the state does not require to have a police force. However, he said, the N.H. State Police will continue to provide assistance when called upon by local officers.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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