Captain Gerard Dussault
Operations Division Commander
There are many specialized divisions within the police department which work together to accomplish the goals of crime detection and prevention. These divisions allow officers the opportunity to utilize their specific talents and skills to not only benefit the Department but also the community in which they work. The Londonderry Police Department has several specialized divisions which are described below.
Uniformed patrol, also referred to as the Patrol Division, is the backbone of the police department. The Londonderry Police Department has approximately 42 officers within the uniformed operations division (UOD). The UOD handles most of the day to day calls for service that come into the department, and is also responsible for routine proactive patrol of the town.
The nature of the calls that the officers respond to vary dramatically. During any given shift an officer may respond to a fight in progress, motor vehicle accident with personal injury, criminal mischief report, domestic violence in progress, drug overdose, suspicious vehicles or persons in a neighborhood, business and residential alarms, etc. Each shift that an officer works is unique and requires the officer to be adaptive within their environment to deal with many different situations that may occur.
When not responding to calls, officers patrol the town looking for anything that may seem out of place or suspicious. This may include observing doors that have been forced open, unusual activity in stores, regulating traffic flow, assisting stranded motorists, monitoring neighborhoods for suspicious activity, and many other items. Although it is difficult to detect crimes in progress, the strong visible presence of police cruisers within the town acts as a deterrence to crime.
The Londonderry Police Department has four detectives who are responsible for following up on cases that were handled by the UOD, or information that was directly provided to them by victims, witnesses, or informants. The cases may include burglaries, drug distribution and buying, homicides, gambling, rapes, sexual assaults, and missing persons to name a few. One of the detectives is responsible for all juvenile cases which may include physical and sexual child abuse, criminal mischief, and runaways. The detectives collect evidence, analyze crime scenes, obtain statements from witnesses and interview possible suspects to resolve the cases. The duration of cases may range anywhere from a few days to several months or longer depending upon the complexity and nature of the crime.
The Londonderry Police Department currently has one K-9 officer. The K-9 unit is a highly specialized division which requires continuous intensive training for both the officer and the dog. The type of K-9 used in the department is a German Shepherd, due to its overall qualities of intelligence, assertiveness, and tracking capabilities. The K-9 officer is equipped with a special cruiser that allows the dog to be on patrol with his handler. The versatile nature of the K-9 unit allows for finding missing persons, tracking fugitives or suspects on foot, crowd control, drug interdiction, and building searches. Usage of the K-9 provides enhanced officer safety by using the dog's superior sense of smell and hearing during high-risk incidents that an officer would be unable to detect.
Mountain Bike Patrol
This is a relatively new concept in law enforcement. A bicycle patrol provides for increased community contact, since nothing separates the police officer from the environment. People are more inclined to approach an officer on a bike rather than in a cruiser. In addition, children are able to relate and identify with bikes, thus providing a great medium for police officers and kids to communicate. The Londonderry Police Department has three mountain bike patrol officers. These officers transport their mountain bikes on the rear of the cruiser for increased mobility. Once in the designated area, the bikes are deployed, which allows the officer increased community contact. The mountain bike patrol unit focuses on many areas of the community, such as residential neighborhoods and shopping
Technical Accident Reconstruction (TAR)
Unfortunately, traffic accidents are a frequent occurrence on our roads. When an accident results in serious injury or death, Londonderry Police uses a team of highly trained accident investigators known as the TAR Team. They are able to disseminate and analyze contributing factors that caused the accident. This allows for understanding why the accident happened and provide measures to hopefully prevent future accidents. In addition, it also helps bring closure to families of the victims.
Southern New HampshireSpecial Operations Unit
The Londonderry Police Department is a member of the Southern New Hampshire Special Operations Unit (SNHSOU). This specialized unit consists of volunteer officers to deal with high-risk or unusual incidents.
The SNHSOU responds to incidents that may include the following:
- Hostage situations
- Barricaded subjects that may injure themselves or others
- Serving high-risk warrants
The SNHSOU members are trained in special tactics to attempt to resolve incidents without harm to innocent persons, officers, and the suspects. The SNHSOU is made up of several components, which include a commander, a negotiator, observation posts, and an entry team, to only name a few. Although it is made up of different components, the concept of the SNHSOU is founded on teamwork. The individual officers train together on a regular basis to operate as a unified group.
Animal Control Officer
There is one part-time animal control officer who handles all animal incidents and is responsible for enforcing animal control laws within Londonderry. The animal control officer may issue violations to pet owners based upon the conduct of the animals or their owners. The animal control officer is also responsible for the removal of stray, injured, or disease infested animals within the community. These animals are typically brought to local shelters where they can obtain treatment and have the possibility of being adopted by a caring family.