Manchester Police Chief Says Officer’s Phone
Not Capable Of Text Or Email Communication
MANCHESTER, NH May 17, 2013 @ 5:00 PM–Manchester Police Chief David J. Mara reacted to the story we broke last night announcing that Alderman at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur had requested an investigation into police department cell phone plans and policies by saying officer phones cannot do anything other that make or receive calls.
Levasseur’s request came after news reports that Officer Nathan Linstad testified that he’d used his “work phone” to send and receive calls, texts, photographs and emails from women who were not his wife for nearly four years. The Union Leader reported that when asked if he thought it was “OK” to use his work phone for these purposes, Linstad said “It’s not against the rules.” Read the article.
In an interview with Girard at Large, Mara said that the phones given to police officers are generally “flip phones” that do not have the capability to send or received texts, photos or emails. He was mystified by the reported claim. “It makes no sense that an officer would say something like that,” said Mara who questioned the accuracy of the report. “There’s nothing to be gained” by the officer telling the court that he was doing stuff with his phone that neither the phone nor the department’s cell phone plan could do.
Mara said that internal investigators for the department were awaiting the arrival of the audio recording of the officer’s court testimony. He said the department wanted to hear what Officer Linstad said on the stand in his own words and not rely on the published news reports. He also hinted that the records associated with the officer’s phone would be reviewed to verify phone activity.
When asked what would happen if the news report was acurate, Mara would only say that it would be a “very serious matter” that the department would handle appropriately.
Mara stressed that the court recordings were requested as part of the department’s “parallel investigation” into the allegations made against Officer Linstad. Linstad was charged with simple assault after Raymond Police received a complaint from his soon to be ex-wife back in September. The case was investigated by the Raymond Police Department and prosecuted by the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office.
Mara said that whenever a police officer is charged with a crime, the department initiates a “parallel” investigation, even when they don’t have jurisdiction, to ensure that officers didn’t violate any department policies or procedures. He said requesting court hearing records in such cases was “routine” and was not done in this case in response to Levasseur’s letter to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Mara said he not know of Levasseur’s letter until he was told of our reporting on the matter.
Linstad, who had been confined to duties within police headquarters pending the outcome of the case, was found innocent of the charges.
Levasseur will bring the matter up at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.