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November 19. 2012 10:49PM

Two experienced officers, one rookie join Manchester police force


Heidi-lyn Jenkins pins a Manchester police badge onto the suit of her husband, Din R. Jenkins, during a ceremony Monday to welcome three recruits into the Manchester police force. (MARK HAYWARD/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - Manchester police welcomed three people, two of them police officers from other jurisdictions, into their ranks Monday.

One of the three sworn in was a Din R. Jenkins, the second African-American to have a Manchester police badge pinned on him in consecutive ceremonies to welcome new officers.

After a brief ceremony, Police Chief David Mara said his department is making an effort to hire more minorities and women. The effort involves recruiting visits to colleges and job fairs, and the formation of a minority hiring committee within the department.

"Our goal is that the face of Manchester police reflect the face of the city," Mara said. Jenkins brings to six the number of minorities on the force, out of 216 sworn officers, he said. In July, Andre Smith, also an African American, was one of nine sworn in; he remains in training.

The ceremony included remarks from Mayor Ted Gatsas, who noted the three are the last crop of recruits who will be sworn in at the Chestnut Street police station. Workers are putting the finishing touches on a new police station at the corner of Valley and Maple streets.

The three new officers are:

. Jenkins, 36, a graduate of Stoughton High School in Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts-Boston. In 2004, Jenkins started work with that university's police department. He has been a police officer with Boston University since 2009. He and his wife have two children and one on the way.

. Erland J. Torrey, 35, a graduate of Edward Little High School in Auburn, Maine. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology at the University of Maine, and master's degrees in criminal justice and business administration at other institutions. He served in the Air Force from 2002 to 2006 and was honorably discharged as a captain. He has worked as a Las Vegas policeman since 2007.

. Mary D. Kitsis, 23, a 2008 graduate of Manchester High School-West. She earned a bachelor's in criminal justice from the University of New Haven and most recently worked in sales at the Sperry outlet in Merrimack.

Kitsis will enter the New Hampshire Police Academy for six months. Torrey and Jenkins will spend nine weeks in in-house training and six weeks training with an experienced officer.

Mara said the three represent a good mix of experience and local roots. He said the reputation of the city and its police department helped to lure Jenkins and Torrey to the department.

"They were police officers who did very well where they were working. We were lucky to get them," Mara said. Experienced officers can land as high as the fifth rung on a 13-step pay grade, said Carl Accorto, a police officer who works in recruitment and training.

Mara said the city is in the process of filling three slots with a federal COPS grant reserved for veterans. Seventy-five signed up; 61 showed up to take the test; 20 remain in consideration following a written test, physical fitness test and oral boards.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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