Lyndeborough, Wilton may share prosecutor
LYNDEBOROUGH - The police department may soon be sharing the services of a full-time prosecutor with the Wilton Police Department if the proposed deal is approved by both boards of selectmen and the Attorney General's Office.
According to Lt. Rainsford Deware, officer-in-charge of the Lyndeborough Police Department, the idea of sharing the cost of having attorney Ben Maki prosecute cases for both departments was originally floated when Wilton Chief Brent Hautanen hired Maki full time. But at the time Hautanen approached Lyndeborough, the department had an experienced, dedicated officer on board who was serving as prosecutor, Deware said.
Many police departments in New Hampshire handle their own prosecutions, sending police officers to court to handle arraignments, probable cause hearings and trials of misdemeanor offenses. Felonies are prosecuted at the state or county level.
"New Hampshire is the only state I know of where police officers serve as prosecutors," said Deware.
But currently, Deware is both heading the police department and serving as its prosecutor, and while he'd prefer to be out on the street serving the community, he's finding himself weighed down with the administrative work of prosecuting cases. So he reached out to Hautanen to try and work out an agreement. For $650 a month, the town can have all of its cases handled by Maki.
"Ben's got a law degree and is New Hampshire Bar certified," said Deware, "and he's a good prosecutor and a good guy."
By joining forces with Wilton, Maki can handle the paperwork and court appearances for prosecution, and Deware can "stay here in town doing community policing and patrolling."
The agreement between the two towns was drawn up based on an agreement the town of Littleton has with surrounding communities for its shared prosecutor. On Wednesday night, the agreement, which has been reviewed by the town's attorney, will be reviewed by the Lyndeborough Board of Selectmen. If that body approves the agreement, there will be a joint meeting between the boards in Lyndeborough and Wilton later this month, and the agreement will be sent to the Attorney General's Office for a final stamp of approval.
If all goes well, said Deware, Lyndeborough will have a new prosecutor on board by the end of April or early May.