Police Departments’ open house a hit

Kids and parents were quietly attentive during the Milford Police Department’s open house last week.

MILFORD – The star of the Milford Police Department’s open house last week was an alert, energetic black dog.

Barry is the department’s K-9, and he was there with his handler, officer Michael Barritt, for much of the two-hour session that attracted about two dozen residents who got an inside look at the department’s resources and operations.

“The community has really embraced” the dog, said Chief Michael Viola. “It’s a great partnership.”

Barritt and Barry, who was purchased by the Milford Police Department in 2016, locate missing or lost persons, catch criminals, detect illegal substances, control crowds, recover evidence, and serve as popular good-will ambassadors.

K-9 Barry is certified in evidence detection and tracking and continues to train with the NH Working Dog Foundation. It’s a big investment and commitment, said Capt. Shawn Pelletier, and that’s why Milford’s K-9, and one in the town of Hillsboro, are the only ones between here and Keene.

The Milford Police Department has other specialty units, including a technical accident reconstruction team, a bicycle unit, motorcycle unit and an off-road unit.

Milford is also part of the Hillsborough County Street Crimes Task Force, which goes after drug dealers and violent offenders. Police say it’s made countless arrests over the past few years and seized a lot of drugs, including the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Big city police departments have their own task forces, and the county one gives the same kind of resources to town and cities, said Chief Michael Viola, so it’s a “win-win.”

“Between our guys and their guys, we catch a lot of bad guys,” said Sgt. Michael Fiffield.

But most situations Milford police deal with day-after-day are more mundane – accidents and welfare checks.

In 2018 there were 333 vehicle accidents in Milford, and the most common cause was distracted

driving.

That’s why Milford police say they are starting a big push over the next few months, looking for drivers using cell phones or engaging in other behaviors that take their attention off the road.

Overall, most Milford crime statistics are down, Viola said, except for assaults, and most of those are domestic assaults.

During the question and answer session, someone asked about body cameras, which Milford does not have. Capt. Pelletier said they are a big expense, and hardware and maintenance of the videos would cost Milford about $70,000 a year.

Kathy Cleveland may be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

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