MANCHESTER, NH – Chief Nick Willard can’tsay enough about how proud he is of his officers, whether he’s on the soapbox, or not. He’s also famouslyvocal when something rankles his sensibilities. That’s why hetook a moment at the top of Monday’s swearing-in ceremony at the Police Athletic League center, to vent over a weekend NH Union Leader posthighlighting the upper echelon of municipal salaries.
The article gave a run-down on top-paid city employees, and described the average salary of a city police officer as about $82,o00. Willard explained that the actual average salary is more like $61,000, with the current demand for overtime inflating the “average” salary, and affecting his bottom line. He mentioned that in asking for – and receiving – a $100,000 overtime commitment from the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, the police department has been able to bring down the crime rate and more effectively and efficiently police the city.
During his remarks to the five newly-sworn officers and their families, Willardsaid he takes “umbrage” to being portrayed as if we’re “greedy taxpayer-breaking thugs; we’re not,” he said, adding that such stories play into anews narrative that sometimes neglects to paint acomplete picture of what it takes to serve and protect a city the size and scope of Manchester.
“We’re proud men and women serving this community. I am proud to be the chief of these hardworking men and women, and frankly, they deserve better,” Willard said.
The highlight of the day was the swearing-in of five new officers. Below are summaries of the resumesfor John Coburn Jr., a former Tyngsborough Mass., officer; Nathan Harrington, whose uncle, James Harrington, served for 22 years with the Manchester Police Department; Justin Hood, who most recently served as a part-time officer with Hampton Police; Eric Pappalardo, who has previously worked as an officer for Hampton, Plaistow and Salem; and Kevin Shields, who has been working since 2013 as a police officer in Washington, D.C.
Guy Shields said seeing his son sworn in – again – was a proud moment, which helps to balance the other moments that sometimes arisewhen your the parent of a police officer.
“Kevin has been an officer in Washington, and so I’ve already gotten one of those calls – he was hurt in the line of duty,he blew out his shoulder. I’m a veteran, so I understand the risk involved,” said Shields.
Also of note: Officer Derek Cataldo was named 2016 Officer of the Year, for outstanding leadership. Willard told the new recruits that Officer Cataldo’s valor and achievement was “representative of the whole” of the force, and is one of many outstanding officers equally qualified and deserving of recognition.
“He’s exceptional, but so are many others. There are many officers standing along the back of the room right now that I know for a fact are just as deserving of recognition for honorable service or a chief’s achievement. We can’t even keep track of the exceptional things that are done day in and day out,” Willard said. “Thank you, Derek, for all you represent in us.”
Another notable recognition went out to Capt. Michael Begley, honored for his service on what washis next to last day with the police department – he is set to retire on March 28.
“What I most appreciate about Capt. Begley is he came up through the ranks as a uniformed patrolman banging out bad guys, right up until his very last day he was in uniform,” said Willard. He noted that because of his experience, from the ground up, Capt. Begley has earned the respect of everyone, from line officers and detectives to supervisors.
“Mike is that guy who every patrol officer will always respect andalways think highly of when they’re talking about the supervisors who were part of their career. I can’t say enough about my admiration for you as a cop – as a brother, and also, for what you’ve instilled in the officers here,” Willard said. “It’s nothing short of exemplary. God bless you, and best of luck in your retirement.”
Officer John A. Coburn Jr.
Officer John Coburn Jr., 28,was born in Lowell, Mass., and is a graduate of Tyngsborough High School, class of 2007. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Lowell, Mass., Police Academy
Officer Coburn’s past work experience includes serving as an EMT with Pridestar EMS in Lowell, Mass., and as a corrections officer at the Billerica, Mass., corrections facility. Since 2010, Officer Coburn has been employed as a police officer with Tyngsborough police department.
Officer Coburn and his wife Stephanie reside in Nashua with their 3-year-old daughter.
Officer Nathan F. Harrington
Officer Nathan Harrington, 22, was raised in Bedford and is a graduate of Bedford High School, class of 2012. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Anthropology/Sociology from the Plymouth State University in New Hampshire in 2016.
Officer Harringtonhas most recently been employed as a quality range inspector with the Sig Sauer firearms company in Newington. His uncle, Det. Jeff Harrington, has served with MPD for 22 years.
Officer Justin M. Hood
Officer Justin Hood, 24, was born in Winchester, Mass., but spent most of his childhood in Billerica, Mass., where he graduated from Billerica Memorial High School, class of 2011. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Sociology from Merrimack College in Mass., in 2015.
Officer Hood graduated from the NH Police Standards and Training Council part-time Police Academy in 2015, and since May of 2015 has been serving as a part-time police officer with the Hampton Police Department.
Officer Eric R. Pappalardo
Officer Eric Pappalardo, 29, was raised in Salem, and is a graduate of Salem High School – class of 2006. He is 2009 graduate of the 148th session of the NH Police Standards and Training Academy.
Officer Pappalardo began his law enforcement career in 2007 as a part-time officer with the Hampton Police Department. He was hired as a full-time officer by the Plaistow Police Department in 2008 and, since 2010, has been employed as an officer with the Salem Police Department.
Officer Kevin M. Shields
Officer Kevin Shields, 30, was born in Fort Ord, California, and moved around in his younger years due to his father’s military assignments. He lived for a number of years, in Fayetteville, GA. He is a graduate of Lovejoy High School, in Hampton, Georgia – class of 2005. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire in 2010.
In 2013, Officer Shields graduated from the Metropolitan Police Academy in Washington, D.C., and has been serving with the Metropolitan Police Department since that time.
Officer of the Year
Officer Derek Cataldo
Officer Cataldo is in his tenth year with MPD and since 2014 has served as a K9 Officer with his partner Lord. For a number of years, Officer Cataldo has served as a Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor, member of the SWAT Team, and as a member of the department’s Honor Guard.
His Patrol Shift supervisors recognize Officer Cataldo’s dedication and commitment to duty, making him an asset to the shift. He leads by example and his skill set and experience are beneficial in assisting the younger and less-tenured officers.
He was named Officer of the Month for November 2016, recognizing his efforts as a firearms instructor in training personnel on his shift to be more proficient with their weapons, and his efforts as a K9 handler in conducting article searches, ultimately recovering a firearm tossed from a window of a moving car into a wooded roadside area, and for locating clothing discarded and concealed by a theft suspect.
His dedication and professionalism reflect greatly upon himself, the Manchester Police Department, and the City of Manchester.
Life Saving/Overdose/CPR, Oct. 7, 2016
Officer Adam Bergeron-Rosa
On October 7, 2016, Officer Bergeron-Rosa responded to a store parking lot to check on a reported unresponsive male in a vehicle. Officer Bergeron-Rosa found the vehicle with the door open and the man stretched out across the center console with his eyes rolled back in his head. Officer Bergeron Rosa was unable to detect a pulse and immediately pulled the subject from the vehicle to position him on the ground to begin life-saving measures. Observing that the man’s airway was blocked by his own tongue, Officer Bergeron-Rosa first had to pull the man’s tongue out of the airway so that he could begin CPR efforts. After one round of compressions, a pulse was detected and Officer Bergeron-Rosa continued to monitor the man’s medical condition until EMTs responded and administered narcan to revive the man.
The Life Saving Medal is presented to Officer Adam Bergeron-Rosa in recognition of his quick actions to render aid, ultimately preventing a tragic outcome.
Missing Person / Medical Attention – February 2017
Certificate of Recognition
Off. Ryan Brandreth w/ K9 Colt
Off. Andrew Choi
Off. Thomas McAuliffe w/ K9 Sonny
Off. Ryan Hardy
On February 9, 2017, at 10:35 a.m., an 81-year-old man was reported missing when he did not return from a walk earlier in the morning. There was heavy snowfall which was accumulating rapidly and the area surrounding the residence consisted of dense woods and trails which had knee-deep snow.
Officers Hardy and Choi spoke with neighbors in the hopes of gaining information of the missing man’s whereabouts. K9 Officers Ryan Brandreth, with his partner Colt, and Thomas McAuliffe, with his partner Sonny, began tracking the missing man. The tracks were difficult given the cold temperature, limited visibility, and the deep snow the officers and canines had to walk through.
After several unsuccessful tracks, Officer McAuliffe was able to locate the missing man buried under several inches of snow in a wooded area. As the man was in dire need of medical attention, Officers McAuliffe, Hardy, and Choi took turns administering CPR and monitored his condition until the arrival of EMTs. The man unfortunately later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
Certificates of recognition are presented to Officer Ryan Brandreth and his partner Colt, Officer Tom McAuliffe and his partner Sonny, Officer Andrew Choi, and Officer Ryan Hardy, in recognition of their collaborative effort to locate the missing man and render immediate medical attention.
Arrest Armed Robbery Suspect – January 2017
Honorable Service Medal
Sgt. Brandon Murphy
Off. Chad Tennis w/ K9 Ace
Det. Thomas DuBois
Off. Jason Feliciano
Det. Clifford Ellston
Off. Cody Healy
Det. Matthew Jajuga
Det. Darren Murphy
Over a three-week period In January 2017, the city’s West Side experienced a rash of armed robberies of neighborhood convenience stores. The clothing, physical description, and firearm were consistent from one robbery to the next.
Following one attempted robbery on January 23, Officer Tennis and canine partner Ace conducted a track of the suspect. The track was lost at the rear of 661 Hevey Street, indicative of the suspect having entered the residence. The K9 team’s track of the suspect proved to be pivotal in bringing about an end to the robberies.
Special Investigations Detective Jajuga researched the address of 661 Hevey Street and was able to identify a potential suspect who fit the suspect’s description.
Special Investigations Unit detectives conducted surveillance of the robbery suspect, and on January 30 observed the suspect leave the Hevey Street residence and head toward a nearby convenience store. The suspect was dressed in clothing consistent with prior robberies. Patrol officers Healy and Feliciano, conducting surveillance at the convenience store, were alerted to the approach of the suspect. The officers observed the suspect adjust a mask to cover his face and put on gloves prior to his opening the door of the store. The suspect immediately aborted his robbery attempt and fled when he observed a customer inside the store. Officers Feliciano and Healy chased the suspect toward the rear alley of the Hevey Street address, where the suspect was subsequently taken into custody. Upon conducting a search of the suspect, the officers located a realistic looking silver handgun, which proved to be a pellet gun. The gun appeared to be the same as shown in surveillance footage from other robberies and the suspect’s clothing and physical description also matched information provided by victims of the six previous robberies.
Honorable Service Medals are presented to Officer Chad Tennis and his partner Ace, Officer Jason Feliciano, Officer Cody Healy, Sgt. Brandon Murphy, Det. Matt Jajuga, Det. Cliff Ellston, Det. Darren Murphy, Det. Tom DuBois, and Det. Jared Yaris in recognition of their collaborative effort which ultimately ended a spree of robberies.