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Rindge police hires full-time officer

RINDGE — A Rindge native and 2007 Conant High School graduate will be sworn in as the newest full-time member of her town’s police department Friday morning, according to Police Chief Frank Morrill.

Erin Minihan, 24, of Rindge graduated from the New Hampshire police academy in April 2012, after earning her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Plymouth State University in 2011. Minihan worked as an officer for the Derry Police Department for about a year, but starting Feb. 4 will make her transition to Rindge, Morrill said in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript on Wednesday.

The department has had a full-time vacancy since April 2012 when Rindge’s former police chief, Mike Sielicki, resigned citing pay issues and accepted a job as chief of the Kensington Police Department. The addition of Minihan will get the department’s full-time force back up to eight officers. Three Rindge officers currently work part-time.

Minihan will start eight weeks of field training Monday and, upon her completion of that training, will began her work for the town, Morrill said. Minihan applied for a position in the Rindge Police Department several months ago when it was still unclear who would become the town’s next chief.

After a nearly four months long national search, the Rindge Select Board promoted Morrill to chief in December. In addition, Dan Anair was promoted from detective to sergeant and Jeff Seppala advanced from officer to detective. But throughout that time, a full-time officer vacancy remained.

Morrill said Minihan’s application stood out among the others because she is already certified. A new officer would have had to complete 14 weeks at the police academy and a 12-week field training program, he noted.

The town gave Minihan a conditional offer of employment earlier this month, pending the completion of a thorough background check, Morrill said. The background check included a polygraph test, physical evaluation, character reference check and criminal history check.

With a staff of 11 officers, Morrill said he expects to reduce overtime costs this year, which totaled more than $71,000 in 2012. Morrill said he budgeted $52,000 in overtime costs for 2013.

In addition to having a full-time vacancy due to Sielicki’s resignation last spring, Morrill said the department’s newest officer, Christopher Martin of Rindge, was undergoing certification training at the police academy through September 2012 and, therefore, unavailable to work shifts during that time. Martin was hired in May to fill an open position left behind by former Rindge officer Joseph Hazelrigg, who left the town to work for the Marlborough Police Department in December 2011.

“[The vacancies] affected our ability to have an overnight overlapping supervisor during peak volumes of activity Wednesday through Saturday,” he said, referring to calls both in town and at Franklin Pierce University.

In current economic times, Morrill said hiring a full-time certified officer is the most fiscally responsible move for the town.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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