Manchester police to assign officer full time to fugitive task force
MANCHESTER - After more than a decade of assigning a city detective to work part time with the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force in New Hampshire, Manchester police will now assign an officer to the role on a full-time basis.
The task force combines resources of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to find fugitives.
"We've worked with Manchester on a part-time basis for years," said Assistant U.S. Marshal Jeffrey White. "We're glad that Chief (David) Mara has stepped up and assigned someone to work with us full time."
Mara said Officer Dan Doherty was chosen for the assignment. Doherty will not be pulled off any city cases already under investigation, and none of his workload will be shifted to other personnel.
Mara called Doherty a "tenacious'' officer; "He'll do a good job for us."
The task force already involves sheriff's deputies from several counties, including Hillsborough, Belknap, Rockingham and Stafford. The Greenfield Police Department also has a full-time officer assigned to work with the task force.
Doherty, who will continue to be paid by Manchester, will work with the other agencies to hunt down fugitives wanted for serious crimes committed in Manchester and to apprehend criminals managing to blend into daily life in the Queen City.
Among the fugitives that the task force is seeking is Matthew Dion, suspected in the Manchester fire on March 24 in which the bodies of his parents, Constance and Robert Dion were found. Matthew Dion is also wanted on charges of possession of child pornography.
The investigation in the Dion case follows the general model established for looking for fugitive, a time-consuming process of sharing scraps of information and trying to create a bigger picture that will lead to a suspect.
"We work together as small teams to develop information and then as a large team to go make the arrest," White said. "Everyone puts their heads together more as a team; they're always bouncing ideas off each other."
The task force is credited with finding fugitives throughout the state, many through the Fugitive of the Week feature in the New Hampshire Union Leader and other media outlets. At least 14 people listed as Fugitive of the Week have been arrested in the 14 weeks of 2014; more than 40 were arrested in 2013. Many were wanted for parole or probation violations after being released from sentences for crimes including drug dealing, attempted murder and armed assault.
U.S. marshals offices around the country have established task forces. Involvement of federal resources in state crimes is triggered by specific criteria.
"As a task force, we work on federal, state and local warrants," White said. "We're looking for people in drug cases, violent cases or someone with an extensive criminal history. We don't work the small-time petty thief."In addition to the state task force such as the one established in New Hampshire, seven regional task forces work in sections of the country plagued by persistent major criminal activity, often involving drug trafficking, murder and other serious interstate crimes.
"In New Hampshire, we don't have murders every week, we don't have rapes every week," Smith said. "In southeast Florida, those task force (offices) are lined with (information about) the apprehension of murderers. It's shocking to go down there to see all the captured posters."
Mara said in a statement that he expects the investment of additional time in the task force will help clear outstanding warrants by rounding up suspects hiding in the city and finding major offenders wanted in Manchester who may be elsewhere.
"Combining our resources and manpower will assist in the reduction of outstanding warrants and reduce the amount of wanted felons on the streets of Manchester, resulting in even safer streets," Mara said in a statement. "We want those criminals hiding out in the Queen City to know that we are coming for them."
David Cargill, U.S. marshal for New Hampshire, said putting the Manchester detective on the force full time should result in more solved cases and more arrests."This enhanced effort will increase the presence of the task force in Manchester resulting in a more significant number of wanted fugitives being arrested," said Cargill.Manchester has been part of the task force since 2002. Until last week's announcement, a city detective was assigned work part time with the task force.