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Police and school officials thwart student threat

June 27, 2018
WOLFEBORO — On June 21, Chief Dean Rondeau updating the Wolfeboro Police Commission on the department's activities, said he testified in a school board case regarding a youth who threatened the school. He said since the Parkland, Fla. school shooting, he has dealt with four troubling cases.

Many lives are affected, said Rondeau, observing that one bad decision in a young person's life leads to "second and third order effects" that undermine future success, such as perhaps acquiring a criminal record that makes it difficult to find work, being turned away from college acceptance, in addition to the effect on one's family and peers.

This particular case, he said got two chiefs in two jurisdictions out of bed for an immediate response and involved five to six police officers as well as school officials, following notification of information provided by the online community. He said the department takes every threat seriously and gives a 100 percent response.

He said the hearing was a serious process, involving legal representation, and concluded with a very strong administrative response. The criminal component is pending.

Commissioner Steve Wood remarked on the necessity for people to be observant and share information to protect their community. He noted that the frequency of shooting incidents across the United States has increased. No community is exempt, especially rural communities, and greater preparedness is in order.

Superintendent Kathy Cuddy-Egbert, responding to a press query, said that the student's confidentiality protections prevent her from being able to make a comment.

"However," she added, "what I can say is that the District investigates all comments and/or social media posts coming to our attention that may pose a danger to students, faculty, and staff. The police department is our partner in these situations. They have done a wonderful job working with us to ensure our schools are safe. Addressing these situations is time consuming and labor intensive.

"The Wolfeboro Police Department has always been there when needed and this is comforting to students, staff, and families. Their work with us has been quite effective. I really appreciate it."

Rondeau shared May statistics and other department activity during the meeting as well. He reported that collisions hit 19 in May, a figure 90 percent higher than the previous four months, which each held to 10. Arrests were steady at 25, with incidents spiking up from 48 the previous month to 72. Traffic stops numbered 278, with under six percent receiving tickets.

On a personal note, he said he is now a Wolfeboro resident, having recently moved from Alton. He's reduced his response time, but his road, Winnipesaukee Drive, is so full of potholes it reminds him of being in Iraq where he drove on roads hit by bombs.

He continues to monitor information coming in from the department's speed trailer and asked that drivers please slow down. One speed that came in was of someone going 74 mph in a 30 mph zone, a situation that he said is unlikely to go well. Not just in anticipation of law enforcement but the increased likelihood of wrapping one's car around a tree.

Officer training in May consisted of attendance by Rondeau and Sgt. Maloney in a three day course regarding evidence collection and forensics science at motor vehicle crashes and fatal crash investigation; attendance by Rondeau and Sgt. Archambault in the NH Highway Safety conference on May 7, focused on training in regard to Marijuans impaired driving; and Jordan Pellow completed her Dispatcher FTO training.

Officers Mary Swift and Michael Morrow, from the Carroll County House of Corrections offered a self-defense class to the public and plan to offer another this fall.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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