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Three from the same NH police academy class slain in line of duty

Union Leader Correspondent

April 10. 2015 2:30AM

Fremont police Sgt. Jason Larochelle. 

FREMONT — Fremont police Sgt. Jason Larochelle has already seen the names of two slain officers from his police academy class on a memorial wall in the nation’s capital.

Next month he’ll return for a ceremony where the name of a third murdered classmate will be added.

Larochelle said he graduated from the academy for part-time officers in 1996 with Brentwood officer Stephen Arkell, Epsom officer Jeremy Charron and Manchester officer Michael Briggs.

The three officers were all shot and killed in the line of duty.

“Those are guys that I remember,” he said.

The day after Arkell was fatally shot last May, Larochelle told his wife that he would be heading to Washington, D.C., in 2015 for National Police Week.

“It wasn’t even an argument. She knew why it was important to me,” he said.

Charron was Larochelle’s first classmate to die. He was shot while investigating a suspicious vehicle in 1997.

Briggs died in 2006 when he responded to a domestic disturbance and was shot by Michael Addison.

On May 12 of last year, Arkell came under fire when he showed up at a home on Brentwood’s Mill Pond Road to investigate a verbal argument between Walter Nolan and his son, Michael Nolan. Authorities said Michael Nolan ambushed Arkell when he entered the home.The loss of Arkell, Charron and Briggs has been tough for Larochelle, who still finds it hard to believe that three officers from his class have died.“That’s why it’s important for me to go down to D.C.,” Larochelle said.

Larochelle and Fremont officers Derek Franek and Andrew Artimovich are planning to leave for Washington, D.C., on May 12 — the one-year anniversary of Arkell’s death.

With memories of the shooting still fresh, the Fremont officers will join Brentwood officers and Arkell’s family at the National Police Week events and attend the ceremony where Arkell’s name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial.

“I know a lot of names on that wall. It’s a sad indication of the life I lead,” Larochelle said.

The Fremont officers haven’t done any fundraising to offset the cost of the trip, but the Peoples United Methodist Church in Fremont has decided to do its part to help them.

The church at 404 Main St. has planned a benefit concert Friday night at 7 p.m. and a second concert on Saturday at 7 p.m. The concerts are free, but all of the money donated will be given to the Fremont officers to cover their hotel stay.

“We wanted to find a tangible way of expressing our thanks and this is one way to do it,” said Pastor Stephen Bascom Sr..

Larochelle said he and others appreciate the financial help.

The benefit concerts come at a difficult time for New Hampshire’s law enforcement community.

Sunday will mark the third anniversary of Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney’s death.

Maloney was shot and killed on April 12, 2012 during a drug raid at the Greenland home of Cullen Mutrie, who fired on members of the Attorney General’s Drug Task Force. Four other officers were wounded and Maloney was shot when he tried to save wounded officers. Mutrie later killed his estranged girlfriend, Brittany Tibbetts, before turning the gun on himself.

The Chief Michael Maloney Memorial Fund — created after the shooting — has given a $1,000 grant to help cover the costs of Franek’s trip to D.C. Brentwood police are also assisting him because he’s a former Brentwood officer and played a critical role on the day Arkell was killed.

Franek was the backup officer who responded to the scene and went inside the Nolan home in an attempt to help Arkell. But once inside, Franek also came under fire and after finding Arkell had died, he ran out of the home to avoid being shot and relayed key information about what he witnessed to other law enforcement personnel.

For Larochelle, a visit to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is a requirement whenever he’s in the nation’s capital.

“I don’t go through D.C. without stopping at the memorial,” he said.

Larochelle still remembers seeing Charron at the funerals of State Police Troopers Leslie Lord and Scott Phillips after they were killed in 1997 by gunman Carl Drega in a mass shooting in Colebrook.

“We marched next to each other,” he recalled.

Charron was killed the next morning.

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