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December 12. 2013 9:45PM

Hard-working volunteer

He helps make the Londonderry police force stronger


Joe Ramsay, 27, of Londonderry accepts a plaque from Londonderry Police Chief Bill Hart as his father, Bob Ramsay, and personal aide Erik Smith, look on during the department’s annual awards ceremony Wednesday night. Ramsay has been volunteering at the police station for the past 11 years and seldom misses his Tuesday shift. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY -- Joe Ramsay isn’t a police officer, but he’s certainly earned his stripes as a beloved member of the Londonderry Police Department’s extended family.

The 27-year-old Londonderry man has been a steady fixture at the Mammoth Road police station over the past 11 years, having spent almost every Tuesday helping out with various tasks.

Ramsay, who has Down syndrome, was honored Wednesday evening during the department’s annual awards and promotions ceremony.

“We have a pretty large volunteer force here, but Joe’s definitely our longest-serving volunteer,” Police Chief Bill Hart said. “Joe takes on all kinds of projects at the station and completes them in a timely fashion. He’s become a friend to so many of us.”

Ramsay, who attended this week’s ceremony with his parents, Cynthia and Robert Ramsay, and his aide Erik Smith, sported a blue polo shirt with the Londonderry Police logo and an arresting smile when he was presented a plaque from the police chief.

Hugs and high-fives from his many friends in uniform promptly followed.

Hart said he plans to further celebrate Ramsay’s milestone in the coming days: the two men share a love of hockey and will attend a Manchester Monarchs game together sometime soon.Asked what he likes best about his job at the police department, Ramsay didn’t hesitate to reply. “Everything,” he declared.

Also honored was longtime records supervisor Patricia Melcher. Melcher, who was unable to attend Wednesday’s ceremony, will retire later this month after working for the police department for more than 35 years.

“There’s just a tremendous sense of pride, of longevity here in Londonderry,” said Sgt. Patrick Cheetham, who organizes the annual awards event.

Melcher’s interest in law enforcement began in the early 1970s, when she was involved in the school district’s Police Explorer program.

In 1978 she was offered a permanent position as a police dispatcher — a position she held through 1985, when she was promoted to her current position.

Things have changed quite a bit over that time period.

“When Patti first came on board, the notion of evidence and records keeping was very different than it is today,” Hart said. “But Patti’s work each and every day ensured that every person got a fair trial, and all community members could count on safety and security.”

Later in the evening, a number of officers were honored for recent promotions.

Sgt. Jason Breen, a 13-year veteran of the Londonderry police force, was assigned to a newly created position, services sergeant. Breen’s new duties include overseeing the records department, dispatch and training divisions, as well as overseeing the department’s field training program.

Officer Timothy Moran, a three-year veteran of the force, was sworn in as the newest member of the Southern N.H. Special Operations Unit, a regional SWAT team made up of emergency officials from nine area towns.

After seven years of working for the Londonderry force, Detective Chris Olson was promoted to public relations officer, where he’ll serve as the department’s media liaison.

Detective Daniel Hurley III and Sgt. Nicholas Pinardi were both recognized for their recent promotions from police officer positions. Recent hires Officer Michael Tufo and Officer Ryan Buker were sworn in to the Londonderry Police Department. Tufo previously worked for the Milford Police Department, while Buker was a police officer in Goffstown.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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