Slain officer called 'fabric of this community'
BRENTWOOD — Those in town who knew slain police officer Stephen Arkell said Tuesday he was a devoted family man whose loss is deeply felt by the community.
Arkell, 48, was born in Brentwood and grew up there, attending local schools and graduating from Exeter High School. In recent years, he coached girls lacrosse at the high school, where his two daughters attend.
“He was the absolute fabric of this community,” Exeter High School Principal Sean Kiley said. “My deepest condolences and positive thoughts go out to the Arkell family.
Kiley has known Arkell for the past few years since becoming principal of the school.
“It’s a shocking tragedy and it’s an incomprehensible loss of a police officer, a profound loss of a police officer,” Kiley said. “But what’s even more profound is the loss as a husband and as a father.”
Kiley said he would see Arkell occasionally at the school while he was coaching. He also knows Arkell’s daughters as students and athletes.
“They are just great kids,” Kiley said “They are talented athletes ... but the way they conduct themselves in the hallways here is a tribute to what Steve Arkell is and how he raised his daughters. They represent all of the ideals we hope to develop in our students.”
Over at the Brentwood Fire Department, Fire Chief Kevin Lamoine said he has lived in Brentwood for 53 years and has known Arkell for about 40 years.
Lamoine said he would occasionally see Arkell at fire and emergency calls.
Arkell always seemed easygoing, but hard-working. He said Arkell also worked as a carpenter and served as the town’s animal control officer.
“He always did good work and was very meticulous,” Lamoine said.
Like a lot of people in town, Arkell would sometimes stop by the Brentwood Country Store, which is popularly known as Lindy’s.
He loved the store’s homemade doughnuts and would buy cat food for the stray cats he rescued as the animal control officer, said Kelyn Dow, the store manager.
“He was a good officer and father to his kids,” Dow said.
A candlelight vigil in Arkell’s honor was held Tuesday night at Brentwood Recreation Center.
Darcie Isabelle of Lee, a former neighbor of Arkell’s, was among hundreds who attended. She said she remembers Arkell from growing up in Brentwood.
“He was a great guy,” she said. “He was really nice. He was always very polite and respectful to me and my parents. It’s terrible what happened to him; it’s a bad loss.”
Of the vigil, she said: “It was good seeing people reuniting with people we grew up with and lived in this town with and everyone coming together as a community.”
Arkell was also remembered on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday.
U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire each spoke about Arkell’s death.
“Citizens across New Hampshire are mourning the loss of Officer Arkell, whose bravery and courage represented the very best of our state’s law enforcement community,” Ayotte said. “Our hearts go out to his grieving family, to his friends and to his fellow officers, as well as to the people of the town of Brentwood he served so well.”
Shaheen said: “Stephen Arkell’s life and career epitomized the heroism of our first responders for which we will be forever grateful. My thoughts and prayers today are with his family, his wife, his two teenage daughters, his loved ones, the Brentwood Police Department, the entire Brentwood community, as well as all of New Hampshire’s entire law enforcement community.”