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Bartlett's police chief retires after 30-year career

By John Koziol
Union Leader Correspondent

March 19. 2017 11:18PM

Shown here in April 2015, shortly after being named Bartlett's chief of police, Janet Hadley Champlin recently announced that she will retire. She is the first female police chief in Carroll County. (JOHN KOZIOL/Correspondent)

BARTLETT — Janet Hadley Champlin, who made history when she became the first female chief of police in Carroll County, is retiring after a law-enforcement career that has spanned more than three decades.

“It felt like the right time. I feel as though we’ve turned things around. We’ve got a good group of officers on board, we’re being proactive and the town is in good shape,” said Champlin during a telephone interview on March 17.

Champlin’s retirement becomes effective April 28. Her departure was announced last week by the Bartlett Board of Selectmen, who she will assist in finding her successor.

Selectmen Chairman Gene Chandler said he and his fellow selectmen are sorry to see Champlin go.

“She did an excellent job in firming up the department and hired a couple new, good people and she will be missed,” said Chandler on Sunday, adding: “We were lucky to have her as long as we did.”

A Bartlett resident, Champlin, 56, was sworn in as the town’s police chief on April 17, 2015.

She is a native of the Nutmeg State and in 1983, Champlin was the first female officer hired by the Cheshire, Conn., police department.

Five years later, Champlin came to New Hampshire and joined the Portsmouth Police Department.

During her 20 years with that agency, Champlin served as a patrol officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

She is a graduate of the F.B.I. Academy, has a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Granite State College and a certificate in Criminal Justice Education from the University of Virginia.

Champlin joined the Bartlett Police Department in 2012 as the department’s prosecutor. She was named the interim chief in January 2015 after then-chief Timothy Connifey retired.

Champlin chuckles when it’s pointed out, as she said has been the case several times since she announced her retirement, that she is the first Bartlett police chief in recent memory to not find herself on the wrong side of the law.

In 2003, retired Chief Robert Snow Jr. pleaded guilty to charges of theft by deception and theft by unauthorized taking for embezzling money from the town.

Last September, Connifey pleaded guilty to one felony count of perjury and one misdemeanor count of official oppression after lying to a Carroll County Grand Jury about not prosecuting his girlfriend for DWI.

While acknowledging the “dark humor” in the situation, Champlin said it was satisfying “to know that I’ve been part of a really positive change in not just our department, but in our community.”

“We talk about community policing and our officers now are much more engaged now, listening to people’s issues and problem-solving, and as a result of that over the last two years we’ve put together a lot of proactive investigations that led to significant arrests and convictions.”

Additionally, since she took command of the Bartlett Police Department, the credibility of the department has been built up, which, Champlin pointed out, means that better relationships with other law enforcement agencies, especially Conway police, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, and the New Hampshire State Police.

Her second retirement, Champlin summed up, “feels good” and she will leave the post with “no regrets”

“I still get a lot of satisfaction out of my job and I think it’s always good when you leave a profession knowing that you still love it,” said Champlin.

Champlin expects that in the future more women will become police chiefs.

She urged the next Bartlett chief to continue with the community-policing approach “because that’s the only way you can connect with the community and solve crime.”

Stressing that she has absolutely no desire to run for any elected office, Champlin said she is looking forward to spending more time with her wife, Anne Pillion, who retired last fall, and enjoying many of the outdoor recreational activities that the Bartlett area is known for.

She also expects to work on her music skills; Champlin is a member of the Mount Washington Valley Community Band and plays the French horn and trombone.

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