MANCHESTER, N.H. – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Manchester Police Lieutenant Matthew Barter on a police ride-along on Friday afternoon.
The approximately two-hour ride served as an opportunity for Hassan to get a firsthand look at areas of focus for the Manchester Police Department that can potentially guide future legislation in Washington.
In addition to the driving portion of the tour, Barter and Hassan also walked a foot patrol through downtown Manchester and talked with homeless individuals.
Hassan appreciated the opportunity and noted her support for greater funding for mental health and addressing the state’s homelessness crisis as well as her support for increased law enforcement funding. She added that she does not support the “Defund the Police” movement, instead touting bipartisan bills she has sponsored that support increased funding for law enforcement and her support of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was used by the city for increase foot patrols in high crime areas and support investigative overtime for violent crime cases.
“The first job of the government is to keep people safe, so public safety has always been something I’ve prioritized and will continue to do,” she said. “And the best way to do that is to really be in constant contact with our law enforcement leaders and law enforcement front-line personnel to find out what they’re thinking, what they’re encountering and how they are using their experiences to improve public safety.”
Manchester Police Department Chief Allen Aldenberg thanked Hassan for her time, adding that this was not the first time she has joined Manchester police on the beat and welcoming any elected official to join police on patrol as well.
“She came here to see what’s going on in the biggest city in our state and see the issues we’re dealing with, she probably could have stayed out there another eight hours if she had the time and see some more stuff, but we appreciate (the time she spent),” said Aldenberg.
Lt. Barter said he also appreciated Hassan’s visit to Manchester and noted the importance of the ARPA funding not just for increases in foot patrols and overtime, but also funding for the city’s PHAST team and crime prevention through environmental work such as increased lighting and remodeling along South Auburn Street.
“Now we have funds so when we identify a spot where there are issues, we have the funds to do something,” said Barter.
Another issue related intersecting with homelessness noted by Barter and Hassan was drug addiction, with Hassan stating that funding has increased for opioid treatment and recovery as well as her pressure against the Chinese government in their supply of products related to the production of fentanyl by Mexican drug cartels.
UPDATE: On Saturday, Republican U.S. Senate Nominee Don Bolduc released the following statement on the ride along.
“For six long years Senator Hassan stood by when leading national party leaders were demonizing and vilifying hard working men and women in law enforcement. She even accused our criminal justice system of being ‘deeply racist.’ During the summer of 2020 when our cities were burning and our police were under assault from political figures, Hassan was absent from the national conversation. Now, a month before an election, she pretends to support the blue only because she and her national party apparatus have a major political problem on their hands. Voters will see through this kind of double speak, and is one of the reasons Hassan’s political career is on the ropes.”