EDITOR’S NOTE: Denise Roy is chief of police in Merrimack. She shared the following with the Executive Council the day after it refused to appoint David Mara as an assistant attorney general. See related editorial, page B6.
Good Afternoon Members of the Council,
My name is Denise Roy. I am the chief of police in Merrimack, which is located in Hillsborough County. I was present yesterday, Sept. 18, 2019, at the governor’s Executive Council meeting in Peterborough. I wanted to express my disappointment in the way the appointment hearing was handled for David Mara.
I do not speak for the other police chiefs in Hillsborough County, and I will only address the experience I have had with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office. I personally met with Attorney Conlon when he was first elected to the office. I expressed my concerns for the lack of communication between his office and mine. I expressed my concern over the fact his office has asked for three misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals cases. I expressed my concern for the lack of adequate pleas for felony offenses, especially those dealing with the drug issues my community was facing, and I expressed my concern for the lack of professionalism his office had been displaying towards my department. I was assured these concerns would be addressed and assured he (Attorney Conlon) was a manager and would correct the immediate concerns.
From that moment on, nothing has changed. There was still no communication between our offices; people charged with dealing drugs, which are plaguing our community, were receiving suspended sentences and suspended fines; and to my complete frustration, his office was now demanding we send our Cruelty to Animals cases to his office. I asked for another face-to-face meeting where my first question was why was there an insistence in taking our misdemeanor cases when his office was not able to handle our serious drug cases. The answer I received was, “Because I can.”
This type of attitude is not what this county needs.
I reached out to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and pleaded for help. I told them about my experiences and I told them the relationship between my office and the County Attorney’s office was broken and we needed help. The residents of Hillsborough County received the help we so desperately needed and the Attorney General took over the criminal prosecution. They in turn came to you for help and that request seemed to turn in a direction which makes me lose hope.
I heard many things yesterday which I disagree with, however, I feel I need to let you know two things:
First, I do not represent a political party. I represent the people of Merrimack. This has nothing to do with politics, it has to do with justice. Justice for victims, justice for the people I serve, justice for all the citizens of this county. I have spent my entire career looking out for this community and the suggestion this is somehow a political issue, quite frankly, is offensive to me. The voters elected Attorney Conlon as the lesser of two evils, however, he has proven to be more incompetent to hold this position than we ever dreamed he could be. The voters have the right to know that, even if you believe we are playing this out in the media.
The other issue relates to David Mara. David Mara was a police officer, he was a prosecutor, and he was a police chief. During his career he has served the citizens of this state and has done so admirably. To use his dedication to the state as a negative flies in the face of everything we in law enforcement stand for.
David Mara understands what is important, what it takes to prosecute a criminal case. He has experience; experience which is needed.
Being a police officer in the past should be held as a quality; instead, members of the Council made it appear as though he would not seek justice. Would a defense attorney be better suited? We had that in Attorney Hogan and I think we all have an understanding of how that worked out for the citizens of Hillsborough County.
We here in Merrimack are asking for help. We asked Attorney Conlon for help, and we were let down. We asked the Attorney General for help, and he has risen to the challenge. Unfortunately, in some of your attempts to score political points off the backs of the people of Hillsborough County, you ignored the Attorney General’s request for help and have left us in a limbo with no end in sight.
David Mara’s appointment would have been nothing but a benefit to the junior attorneys at the County Attorney’s office, and if the council sees fit to hear further arguments on his appointment I would ask that you think of the people of Merrimack before casting your vote.