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Friends, officers celebrate Chief Maloney's life

Union Leader Correspondent

April 20. 2012 11:59PM
Friends, law enforcement community peers and family of deceased Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney gathered at the Holy Grail Restaurant in Epping to celebrate his life on the day that would have been his last law enforcement day of service Friday night. Rochester Fire Department fireman and bagpiper Don McCullough played for the crowd from the entry landing. (BRUCE TAYLOR / UNION LEADER)

EPPING - On the day when Greenland police Chief Michael Maloney would have retired, friends and fellow police officers gathered to mark the end of his law enforcement career.

Dozens of police officers packed a party held in the chief's honor Friday night. They came to remember a man who gave his life saving fellow officers in last week's deadly shooting outside the home of Cullen Mutrie.

After a week of sadness that filled the town of Greenland and extended across the state, those who knew the 48-year-old chief felt they still needed to throw him a retirement party.

They needed to share stories.

They needed to laugh.

Many threw on their Hawaiian shirts and shorts - the casual attire often worn by the chief.

'Despite (the fact) that he wasn't here, we can still move on and celebrate his life' said Brentwood police Sgt. Denny Wood, a friend who helped plan the party called the 'Chief Mike Maloney Melee' after talking with retired New Hampshire State Police Trooper Keith Rayeski following Maloney's death.

The party at the Holy Grail restaurant in Epping was a chance for the officers to unwind after what many said was the hardest week in their law enforcement careers, with a chief killed and four officers suffering with gunshot wounds. Their spirits were lifted when they learned that one of the officers shot in the chest, Newmarket Detective Scott Kukesh, was released from the hospital. Rochester Detective Jeremiah Murphy is the only officer still hospitalized after being shot by Mutrie during the drug raid on April 12.

Greenland police officers who paid their final respects to their chief at a funeral Thursday attended by law enforcement officers from around the country attended Friday night's party. Greenland's new police chief, Tara Laurent, who was thrown into the job Thursday night under the worst of conditions, also attended.

Laurent praised those in the law enforcement community who scrambled to plan Thursday's funeral.

'When we went back to the police department, everyone was just really relieved. It was what he deserved,' she said of the service. 'Today, obviously everyone is still grieving, but today was supposed to be his retirement date, so it's more of a celebration of his career and of his life.'

But while his officers have said their final goodbyes, Laurent acknowledged that the healing process is just beginning.

'They will be grieving, but still doing the job that Mike loved and that he would expect from every one of his officers,' she said.

A friend for nearly three decades, Hampton police Chief Jamie Sullivan came to the retirement party to enjoy the company of others in the law enforcement community and remember the chief.

'Michael was a good guy,' he said.

Many friends stood around a projection screen to watch a slideshow chronicling Maloney's life and death. There were pictures from his fishing trips and time spent with the kids at Greenland Central School.

Jason Whitney of Kingston, whose cousin, Wayne Young is a Greenland police officer, volunteered to be the DJ for the party.

Raffles were also held to raise money for a memorial fund in Maloney's name.

Michelle Fugere, secretary of the Rockingham County Law Enforcement Officers Association, spent the week collecting items to be raffled.

She recalled that fateful night when she learned the news of the chief's death while attending an association meeting.

'It was nice to have the brotherhood to fall back on,' she said.

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