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Police safety, SWAT topics of discussion at Derry council meeting after Arkell slaying
Councilors were considering a request by the Derry Police Department to accept a grant through the U.S. Department of Justice to buy law enforcement items.
They also want to buy special gun-mount flashlights that cost $105 each and would be provided to 56 members of the department. In addition, 56 corresponding holsters at $115 each would also be required, said Chief Edward Garone, who made the presentation to councilors.
After the presentation, Garone was questioned during a public hearing by resident Mark Flattes about the need to buy the special flashlights. Flattes said he agreed the department needed all of the other items on the list, but questioned whether the flashlights were necessary.
Flattes said each officer already carried a weapon and a handheld taser. He also questioned the size of the flashlights.
Garone said the flashlights are about one and half inches long, with a diameter just over an inch. He said they are fitted on the end of weapons and are not a laser sight but used as an illumination device.An officer would use the flashlight when entering a darkened house with someone inside who could be armed.“The police officer doesn’t know if he’s armed; the police officer will have his weapon out at this point,” Garone said.
“You talked about it being SWAT or military,” Garone said to Flattes. “Unfortunately, as we’ve all learned in New Hampshire and here in Rockingham County recently, sometimes it is SWAT. Sometimes it is a military type of thing. Sometimes an officer is trying to protect a citizen or sometimes he’s trying to protect himself.”
“I understand that and appreciate the job that they do and want them to have the best equipment,” Flattes said.
After the public hearing, councilors discussed the grant proposal, which was greeted with overwhelming approval.
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