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Shooting reinforces dangers of police work
With the American flag at half-staff, the local library paid tribute to Officer Stephen Arkell and his fellow officers at the Brentwood Police Department. (Tracy McGee)
Raindrops rest on flower arrangements left at the Brentwood Police Department in memory of Officer Stephen Arkell. A larger collection of flowers had already been placed at the memorial and were brought to the Arkell family earlier in the day on Friday. Within hours, these bouquets had already accumulated. (Tracy McGee)
Arkell died while responding to a domestic dispute at the duplex where Michael Nolan, 47, lived with his elderly father. Authorities say Nolan shot Arkell four times, fatally wounding him, before a fire and explosion engulfed the Mill Pond Road home.
Enfield Police Chief Richard Crate, incoming president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, said in the days after such a tragedy, police chiefs reinforce the training that all officers received in the police academy.
"In New Hampshire, we're one of the safest states in the country," Crate said. "Because we don't deal with these things as often as some other communities, it hits home a little bit more, that there is a danger involved in our jobs and our communities."
At the Police Standards and Training Council (PSTC) in Concord, training procedures could be updated once a report is issued on the Brentwood shooting.
"It's too early to say exactly what changes will be made, but we absolutely incorporate the findings of investigations into these incidents into our training," said Capt. Mark Bodanza, a bureau commander at PSTC.
Jane Young, associate attorney general, said Arkell's death was exactly 25 months after Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney was shot to death when a suspected drug dealer opened fire on a team of officers serving a warrant at his house.
"It's what makes them . such true heroes," she said. "There they are, ready to lay down their lives again for a fellow officer, for that community."
And in the days since, the Greenland officers have been there to support the Brentwood department, she said.
"They are resilient, and they become the strength of the others because they have been through it," she said. "Brentwood can look at Greenland and look at Chief Laurent and her men, and it's what will get them through.
Bodanza said officers are trained that when responding to a call for assistance, "The gold standard is always to respond to a call with another officer."
"Our job is to protect lives, and we're going to put our lives at risk to save somebody else's," he said. "I do tell my officers in a situation where there could be a dangerous call, we have to go in to prevent somebody else from dying."
He said Arkell probably expected the call he responded to last Monday to be a matter of sorting out what led to the dispute neighbors overheard between Nolan and his father. Instead, the encounter quickly turned deadly.
"When an officer is killed, it forces you to realize once again that with that prestige comes a commitment to lay down your life, if necessary, to keep safe the communities you are sworn to protect, and those that live in them."
"Tomorrow's another day, and we've got to worry about each and every shift," he said. "I think that just comes with the job."
"New Hampshire pulls together, and that's what makes the state special," he said. "And I'm sure that we'll all pull together behind his family."
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