New London chief who resigned amid investigation eligible for pension
The former New London police chief who resigned Thursday after a college student accused him of pressuring her to pose for nude photos is eligible to receive a pension of more than $55,000 a year, according to salary figures provided by the town.
David Seastrand will not lose his pension because he resigned amid a criminal investigation, according to an official from the New Hampshire Retirement System. Spokesman Marty Karlon said even a criminal conviction isn’t grounds for revoking a pension under state law.
The allegation against Seastrand came to light Thursday but has been under investigation for about a month. The woman, whose lawyer said she is a student at Colby-Sawyer College, went to the New Hampshire attorney general’s office March 6 and reported that Seastrand pressured her for several hours earlier that day to pose for nude photographs in exchange for two charges against her being dropped.
The student had been arrested three days before and charged with underage drinking and giving a false name to the police, according to attorney Richard Lehmann. Lehmann said she returned to the station at Seastrand’s request.
The attorney general’s office initiated an investigation, and on Thursday Seastrand agreed to resign and relinquish his police credentials in exchange for criminal charges not being pursued.
Associate Attorney General Jane Young said the office decided to take the route after considering several factors, including the charges filed against the woman and the fact that she and Seastrand were the only two people in the police station when the incident is said to have occurred.
It’s not determined yet, though, if that agreement will affect Seastrand’s ability to work outside of New Hampshire.
Mark Bodanza, a captain at the Police Standards and Training Council, said the council still needs to approve Seastrand’s request to relinquish his police credentials. The matter is on the agenda for the council’s April 23 meeting, he said.
If the council approves the request – which Bodanza said it is not bound to do by the attorney general’s agreement – the group would then vote on whether Seastrand’s name should be included in a national database of decertified officers.
The people in that database aren’t barred from working in law enforcement in other states. But Bodanza said other departments can reference it when making hiring decisions.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, it’s out there to make other states aware,” he said.
Seastrand’s pension, if he applies for one, would be calculated using the average of his three highest annual salaries, including any payment for unused leave. (A town official said Seastrand is receiving $13,672.80 for unused vacation time.)
Seastrand was making about $80,160 at the time of his resignation and slightly less than that in the two closest years, according to numbers provided by the town. The average salary used for calculating his pension would be about $83,000.
Seastrand will then receive a percentage of that average salary based on how many years he worked. Karlon said because Seastrand has been an officer for 27 years, he would likely receive about 67 percent of that salary.
The figures calculate to a pension of more than $55,000 annually.
Karlon declined to say whether Seastrand has applied for his pension.
Colby-Sawyer College issued a short statement yesterday, saying it recently learned of the situation and planned to reach out to the student to offer her support.
“The town of New London and its police department have been valuable partners over the years in keeping our students and our campus safe,” the release continued. “While this situation is unfortunate, the college and New London town officials will work together to move forward and reaffirm our commitment to protect the safety of our students and all our community members.”