Enoch “Nick” Willard was sworn in yesterday as Manchester’s new police chief in ceremonies at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel. Willard was emotional as he spoke to the large crowd, complete with dignitaries from around the city and state, including Mayor Ted Gatsas, several aldermen, Her Highness the Governess Margaret Wood Hassan, former Mayor Raymond J. Wieczorek, First District Congressman Frank Guinta, soon to be former Chief David J. Mara and former police chiefs John Jaskolka and Peter Favreau.
Willard wore his service blues to the event, that’s the regular cop’s uniform in case you didn’t know, to show solidarity with the officers he will lead, declaring himself a cop first and a boss second. He was emotional at several points during the ceremony as he thanked his dad, wife and daughters, the men and women of the Manchester Police Department and the community in general. As he swore in five new officers, he reminded them they are to protect the “lives and liberties” of Manchester’s people saying it was a tremendous responsibility that needed to be undertaken “with honor, integrity and compassion.” Gatsas, who swore in Willard, also swore in new Assistant Police Chief Carlo Capano, a nineteen veteran of the force. Willard will be my guest Thursday night on the Girard at Large television show. Be sure to tune in!
Willard didn’t waste any time getting to work, though he doesn’t officially take office as Manchester’s eleventh police chief until tomorrow. At a press conference later in the day, he presided over the presentation of a multi-jurisdictional drug bust that netted more than two point two million dollars worth of heroin, fentynal, cash, guns and other items. Interestingly, the department is reporting that this historically huge haul, which has taken over twenty kilos of drugs off the street, was a result of the department’s investigation into an alleged shooting on Winter Street last week, where Jeannette Hardy claimed to have been shot during a home invasion. Well, turns out that story wasn’t quite right. Willard and members of the Manchester Police Department were joined by state and federal officials from both New Hampshire and Massachusetts to share what they would about the bust that also took three dirt bags off the street. We’ve published the department’s release with all the details they presented at Girard at Large dot com and linked to it from this newscast. Score one for the good guys.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
New Hampshire’s Hands Free Law goes into effect tomorrow and it’s a doozie. Among other things, the law prohibits the use of any hand held electronic devices capable of providing voice or data communication while driving or temporarily halted in traffic for a stop sign or traffic signal or other momentary delays. So, if your backed up on Ninety Three and going nowhere fast, you can’t use any device, including cell phones, G P S, tablets, iPods, iPads or other devices that require data entry. The law does allow for emergency calls, how nice, the use of Bluetooth devices and C B, or two way radios. Drivers under the age of eighteen will not be allowed to use any electronic devices except to report an emergency, even if they’re not driving. We’ve published a bulletin disseminated by the Merrimack Police Department with all you need to know at Girard at Large dot com and linked to it from this newscast. Be sure to check it out.
The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet in non-public session tonight. On the agenda is union contract negotiations. Mayor Ted Gatsas recently relinquished his role as the city’s lead negotiator after the Board of Aldermen failed to support tentative agreements he reached with two bargaining units from the city’s police department. In stepping down, Gatsas suggested Board Chair Dan O’Neil, the Lord Emperor, do as the school board had done and appoint a special committee to handle negotiations. It appears as if tonight’s meeting is a strategy session. No public action is expected.
A reminder for folks in Bedford, your police department is hosting its 3rd annual open house tonight from five to eight. It’s a great way to become acquainted with the people and facilities that serve the community. There’s food and drink, a “seatbelt convincer,” child car seat inspections and OOOHHH sooo much more. Be sure to check it out.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.