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Mar 8, 2016 3:03 PM

Canterbury report faults lack of leadership for problems plaguing police department

CANTERBURY - A captain with the Merrimack County Sheriff's Office has written a letter to selectmen detailing what he sees as the problems plaguing the town's police department.

In that 10-page letter dated Friday, Capt. Todd Corey blamed the majority of the problems at the department on a lack of leadership that predates former chief John Laroche.

Laroche, who became chief in 2007, resigned in January after being charged with sexually assaulting a Police Explorers cadet in Boscawen more than 15 years ago.

In late 2006, then-Chief Gwen Deurell resigned after several disputes with town selectmen involving pay and what she called harassment, according to the Concord Monitor.

To remedy the leadership problem, Corey recommended hiring a part-time chief as well as a secretary, another full-time officer and a part-time officer, writing that the chief should be highly trained and competent "with exceptional leadership and communication skills."

"It goes without saying that the number one priority should be hiring a qualified chief. A chief with a vision," Corey wrote. "Not just a vision for the present but a vision for the future of the Canterbury Police Department. Good leaders produce good leaders."

Corey also went on to explain problems with training within the department.

"Some chiefs explained that when their officers respond to assist the Canterbury Police Department, their officers take over the call because the Canterbury officer on duty does not know how to handle the situation."

He wrote that this is not the fault of the officers and believes they could all do well with the right leadership.

"... It would be extremely difficult for any officer to be fully successful under the leadership that has plagued the Canterbury Police Department."

Corey wrote that the police department should put one of its officers through classes to become a certified field training officer. This person could then in-turn train new officers. He recommended at least eight weeks of training for the new officers.

Other recommendations include upgrading equipment, adding surveillance cameras to the booking room and creating a capital reserve fund.

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