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Paula O'Meara pins a Manchester police badge on her son, Kevin, Monday while Police Chief David O'Mara looks on. (MARK HAYWARD / UNION LEADER.)

New officers

New Manchester police officers have experience on their side


MANCHESTER — Five men — all former small-town-and-city police officers — took oaths as Manchester police officers on Monday, bringing experience they honed in communities such as Weare and Dover to the big city.

Police Chief David Mara stressed that all five were certified New Hampshire police officers, meaning their training will take about three months, half the time needed for a raw recruit.

"Not only do we have a shorter training curve, they get out onto the street a lot quicker," Mara said during an induction ceremony. Meanwhile, towns are bemoaning the loss of valued employees.

Weare Police Chief John Velleca said he hated to lose Robert C. Bifsha, who started in his department in 2012. But Velleca said he understands.

"They (Manchester) have a good department, they have a newer facility, a great chief and a lot of room for advancement," Velleca said. He also said the city pays more; Bifsha will earn about $10,000 more a year in making the move.

Bifsha, who is 25, started his career as a corrections officer for Hillsborough County. He said he joined Manchester for the action and the opportunities for career advancement. And danger? Yes, he said. "With more money comes more responsibility."

The other recruits are:

• Kevin D. O'Meara, 36. O'Meara worked as a Carroll County corrections officer from 2004 to 2005. He worked as a police officer in Madison and Ossipee before being hired by Bedford police in 2012. "I always wanted to get back to (the city)," said O'Meara, who grew up in Weymouth, Mass.

• Andrew S. Choi, 26. Choi grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles and has worked for Dover police since 2010.

• Matthew W. O'Connor, 26. O'Connor graduated from Manchester High School Central and served 11 months in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard. He started with Henniker police in 2007.

• Jacob W. Yaris, 25. Yaris graduated from Raymond High School and joined Hampton police as a part-time officer in 2010. Goffstown police hired him in 2011.

mhayward@unionleader.com

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