COUNTING COPS

Led by reporter Cassidy Jensen, the Monitor spent more than a year creating a town-by-town database of police growth in New Hampshire. Investigative reporter Beryl Lipton sent out the public records requests and follow up communiction through MuckRock with financial support from the Granite State News Collaborative. Report for America journalist Jenny Whidden assisted with data entry.

 While poring through thousands of pages of physical and online copies of town reports, our teams found the amount of information contained within reports varied widely and in some cases, it did not exist. In cases where staffing information was not provided by the town or was not available in town reports, the Monitor and the Granite State News Collaborative used police employee data that some departments report to the FBI through the Uniform Crime Reporting program.  Some towns were not able or refused to produce records that showed the number of officers in a community since 2000. 




 

 

Day One: The number of New Hampshire police officers has grown twice as fast as the population over the last twenty years

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Concord Police chief Bradley Osgood prepares to address the Concord City Council on Thursday, May 26, 2022.


Violent crime in Concord is nearly half the national average, a rate that has barely budged over the last two decades. Police calls for service are down from ten years ago, with calls recorded in the last five years lower than the preceding years.

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Day Two: Small towns grapple with whether a police department is worth the money

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Former Alexandria Police Chief Donald Sullivan has been working for Hill to plot options for a way forward for their police force. Here, Sullivan talks to the select board during a meeting in June.

 

On New Year’s Eve, some 1,000 people living in the small town of Hill quietly lost their police department.

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Day Three: Few NH police departments collect demographic data, but those that do are overwhelmingly white and male

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Concord Police officer George Tarwo inside the city council chambers on June 2, 2022.


As a kid growing up in Concord, many of George Tarwo’s friends did not trust the police. Like many former refugees in Concord, Tarwo was born in a country, Liberia, where that mistrust was warranted. His childhood was difficult, and police were called to his home in Concord more than once. But his own experience differed from his friends who had negative interactions with Concord officers. Tarwo was a star athlete - playing football, soccer and wrestling - and his coaches were Concord police officers. That early mentorship and those positive relationships contributed to his decision to join the Concord Police Department in 2021.

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Day Four: The New Hampshire State Police has grown by 30% since 2000

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A long row of State Trooper vehicles at the New Hampshire Department of Safety in Concord.

 

Capt. Brendan Davey was born into a New Hampshire State Police family. His dad was a sergeant and assistant troop commander, and after earning a degree in psychology from the University of New Hampshire, Davey jumped into a green cruiser himself.

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Day 5: As demands on New Hampshire cops grow, the politics of police funding remain the same

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Sen. Maggie Hassan leads a Senate Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee field hearing at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester on March 14, 2022. (Courtesy photo)

 

At a March U.S. Senate field hearing in Manchester, U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas addressed the panel of law enforcement officials who had just spent hours telling him, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan about drug trafficking in the state.

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