Police awarded grants for special patrols

FRANCESTOWN — In a phone interview Wednesday, Francestown Police Chief Stephen Bell said the Police Department was awarded two grants from the N.H. Department of Safety. One grant, worth $4,471, allows the department to conduct patrols targeted at speed enforcement and the other, worth $5,962.32, is for DWI patrols.

According to Bell, the grants give the department funds so that they can do special patrols for speed and DWI, separate from regular patrolling. This means that an officer on patrol only focusing on speed enforcement will not take calls from dispatch because, as Bell said, these officers on patrol under the grants’ funds are not functioning as duty officers who take calls, but as officers targeting certain driving issues.

Bell said Wednesday that normally there is only one officer on the road at a time patrolling and taking calls from dispatch.

“The grant will pay for an extra officer out on the road,” Bell said. This doesn’t mean a new officer, however, he noted.

Bell said these grants have been available to New Hampshire police departments for several years, and other surrounding towns have applied and been awarded the grant money in the past. He said this is the first time the Francestown Police Department has applied and been awarded grants like these since he was employed as police chief in November 2006.

“We’re really busy right now,” Bell said. “There’s a lot of [administration] stuff going on.”

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