Sunday, February 7, 2016

How we plan for and respond to critical emergencies

As an organization, the Middleton Police Department has to look at data and trends around us to properly plan for emergencies.  Data can be calls for service and types of calls.  Trends can be what is going on around us in the world, country and neighboring communities.  If only we had that crystal ball to know what is going to happen and when.

Three years ago we committed to moving forward and using whatever tools we have to keep our citizens informed during critical incidents.  Since that time we have perfected it to the following methods:

  • Reverse 911 calls to homes through the State Emergency 911 Center.
  • Immediate Push Notifications through the Middleton Police Mobile App
  • Social Media notifications which are sent from the Middleton Police Mobile App.
As we move closer to the opening of our school and as we deal with everyday emergencies, I wanted to write a little about what we do.

First we train.  Our command staff has gone through critical incident training on how to manage events.  This is a three day school during which we are thrown to the wolves and given unknown situations to manage and are critiqued hard on our management skills.

Officers are trained on active shooter response.  This is a state wide program which is three days in length.  During this training we are put into live simulated situations.  We have simulated rounds (soap projecticles) shot at us and have simulated bombs (training flash bangs) thrown at us.  

All Middleton Police have been trained in battle wound first aid and CPR.  If one of us were to go down from a gun shot, the goal of this training is to be able to self treat and stay alive.  It is also there to get immediate aid to a victim during a critical event.   This training also can come in handy during severe medical emergencies such as car crashes as we await the response of emergency medical provider.s

Command Staff has attended the Explosive Training provided by the United States Homeland Security Department.  

Most recently we have attended the "Train the Trainor Civillian Response to the Active Shooter."

In July of 2015 we started planning and looking at our procedures for response to School Based incidents.  We have completed our Police Department Protocol and are in the stages of rolling out training to our rank and file.  Because we are a small agency, the lowest ranking officer has to have the same ability to lead an event until such time that they are relieved by a Superior Officer.

So what do we do to stay ready?  When a call comes into the police dispatch center, that call is logged.  The Police Dispatch software automatically sends that call to the cellphone of a police supervisor and Chief 24 hours a day seven days a week.  This enable us to know what is going on at every waking and non-waking moment of the day.  Because this call is pushed to our phone as the dispatcher is typing, we often receive the page just before the call is dispatched. 

All full time police officers are issued police radios.  If this is a critical call and a supervisor is not on duty, they will monitor the call or if it is a highly critical call, they will sign on duty and respond to the scene. 

While enroute to the scene, the Supervisor will size up the situation by communicating with the on duty officer.  The Supervisor will ensure that enough mutual aid units from surrounding communities are in place as well as any special equipment response necessary.  Off Duty personnel are called into duty when available and necessary.  We also need to assess how long an event might go.  If the event is going to be long such as a hurricane or tornado damage, we may not call some units into work as we would need to keep personnel fresh to continue our operations. 

During this time, a supervisor will access what we need for additional services.  EMS may be put on stand by and if it is a critical emergency we may request Paramedic response as well as a fire department response or staging.  Staging means to remain on duty ready to respond.  If we need to close an area we may contact our local emergency management to set up temporary shelters where folks can go until the area is cleared. 

As you saw during the LakeShore incident three years ago, the Supervisor will also look at the timing of the event.  If school is in session, we may stop busses from travelling or in the future may place the school in a lock down situation.  During the LakeShore incident, the Supervisor knew that the busses would be leaving soon and had dispatch notify the SAU to stop the busses.

When a supervisor arrives on scene, they will alert the public when necessary.  Our standard routine is to alert the public during times when there is no public threat for the sole purpose of having folks not worried or in a panic.  An example of this might be a quick blurb saying multiple units are enroute for a missing person search.  There is no public danger and we will update shortly.  As we gather information we will then update with a photo and last known direction of travel to gain the aid of our citizen partners.

We may also alert for things like road closures and hazzards.  At times we may need to evacuate homes.

During chemical or explosive situations, we have access to software provided to us through Homeland Security.  This software captures our location, we input the emergency and the software identifies where we have to evacuate.  Below is an image of the software that shows a propane emergency at Avon Lane.  

The coded dot shows the emergency type and the circle identifies our perimeter and evacuation zones. Using this software, a supervisor would immediately know that we would have to have 4 police cars close roads and sufficient personnel to assist the fire department during the evacuation process.  This software is run from our cellphone in the field.  During this time, a supervisor is most likely going to take one of those positions until we get sufficent personnel to the scene.  The supervisor will multi task and conduct traffic while monitoring and managing the event.

We are also implimenting laptop computers in the field.  This will give us direct communications with the dispatch center and officers in the field with two way messaging.  This allows us to keep critical information off the airways.

The Dispatch software also allows the supervisor to see where our units are positioned.  It also allows for the Supervisor to enter information directly into the log from the field keeping radio traffic to a minimum.  The mobile computers also give us access to the NCIC system which allows us to run motor vehicle checks and warrant checks from the field.  

Our cellphones and laptops also allow us to access checklist on what needs to be done.  This ensures that every member of the police department has the tools needed to manage the event in the same way.  

So how do you as a citizen help us during a crisis.  First and formost, use a method to allow us to keep in touch with you.  The best way is to download the Middleton Police App on your smart phone and allow us to send push notifications.  This allows us to reach you immediately with critical information.  Please follow our directions.

If you do not have a smartphone, you can follow us on Facebook and twitter.  Our blogs are also pushed to the Town website at

Please do not call Dispatch during a critical emergency unless you have an emergency.  This ties up phone lines and keeps a dispatcher occupied when we may need them from the field.

Please do not attempt to go to the scene of an emergency.  You will not get through the scene and will hamper our ability by adding another layer of what we need to deal with.

Keep in mind that a critical emergency has several things going on that keeps us extremely busy.  Once we put out information, we do not monitor the social media pages.  We will update information when we can and as quickly as we can.  In the Middleton Police mobile app there is a scanner section located under the More button.  You can click on the link and listen to what is going on.  Keep in mind that we are aware of the public monitoring and intentionally communicate by phone, text and two way messaging with dispatch on information that would be dangerous to put out over the air. 

 A huge help in critical incidents is the public following directions.  Last week we closed Silver Street as we did not know if we had a shooter or victim in the woods.  We asked folks to stay inside and avoid the area.   This was to ensure that the public was not placed in danger.  The public followed this direction which allowed for us to manage the scene more effectively.  With that cooperation and coordiantion we make our community a safer place.

This year, the Middleton Elementary School will open.  Over the next several months we will be conducting some internal training to make sure we are prepared for the unexpected.  Our role in the community requires us to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  

There is more to planning for a school than active shooter training.  We will be training for such things as threat response.  What do we do for suspicious packages or phone calls of threats or electronic threats.  What if a stranger gains access to the school?  

What do we do if multiple children become sick at school?  What do we do during a weather related emergency such as a hurricane or tornado.  How do we handle a fuel leak in the parking lot?  How do we handle the notifications if a child becomes critically ill or dies outside of school hours.  How are the counseling and crisis teams activated?  What happens if a truck carring acid has a spill on the Kings Highway?  What if we have an emergency involving firearms in the neighborhood?  What about an out of town bus crash?  

While we know the answer to these situations, our training becomes critical so that handling these events when and if they happen becomes second nature to us.  Our plans do not become a public record as we don't want to educate the bad guy on what we do to be ready.  

Lastly, post critical events, we debrief.  We look at the good, bad and the ugly and change policy or procedure so we get better.  This blog, social media and the Middleton Police App were a direct result of our critique of an incident where we learned we need to reach the citizens with real time accurate information. We are proud of our communication skills are are often told we have the best system around.  

Thanks for taking the time to read what we do.  Rest assured that our Agency as a Team will be ready for whatever is thrown at us.  We appreciate the support that has been shown to us by the Community during emergency events and will continiously strive to get better.  We will always respond as if the people we are protecting are our own mothers, fathers, grandparents, sons and daughters.  

During our most recent event, our social media reached over 30,000 people.  This is evidence that our programs are working and for that we thank you for your partnership.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Press Release on Silver Street Incident

On today's date at approximately 5:48 P.M. Middleton Police were dispatched to the 200 area of Silver Street for a reported disturbance with shots fired.  Due to the nature of the call, Milton and Farmington Police were immediately dispatched and Middleton EMS was put on stand by.

Upon arriving at scene, Police units confirmed by speaking with two separate residences that a single vehicle entered a driveway from Silver Street.  There was a heated exchange of words and what both witnesses describe as a single shot fired.

Upon examining the scene, police located fresh footprints leading to a wooded area.  The NH State Police was contacted and responded with a K-9 and multiple units.

We did locate forensic evidence at the scene which may assist us in locating a suspect.

Upon searching the area, police learned through the use of the K-9 and a thermal imaging unit provided by the Fire Department that the person had left the wooded area.

A State of New Hampshire reverse 911 call was placed to a 5 mile area until such point that we confirmed that an armed person was not in the wooded area.  At approximately 8:40 P.M. that reverse 911 call was cleared.

We are looking for an older model gray  Mitsubishi with an unknown registration.  The last known direction of travel was down Silver Street in the direction of Farmington.    Anyone having any information is requested to contact Middleton Police at 473-8548.

We would like to thank that public for their cooperation and patience during this incident.  We will update additional information as we receive it.  We are still in the early preliminary stages of this investigation.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

New Changes Posted to Middleton Police App

You may have received a notice on your Middleton Police App to update.  When you downlaod the app you may not see many changes.  This is because many of the changes were code changes to keep up with the ever changing code of Google and Apple as well as the vast amount of devices that hit the street.

A huge change is on the server side and how we manage content delivery.  The servers have been increased and the content deliver has been perfected so that your mobile app runs smoother and quicker.

Our biggest change is something that I am proud off.  Who likes to be bothered?  Most of us don't.

I added the ability to choose what information you want to receive in our Alerts section.  If you want to receive all our alerts, do nothing.  If you think there are to many, you can choose from a list that we created.  Check back often as the list may change.  Here is how you do it.

When you open the app you will see the following screen:

The folder third to the right is marked Alerts.  This is where all your alerts are stored.  When we issue an alert, you will receive a sound and a notification on your device.

To select your type of alerts, open the Alert folder by tapping it.

Once open you will now see a screen that looks like this:

In the top right corner, you will now see a settings button.  You can click on that button and it will open a set of alert types that we normally send out.  It looks like this:

The sliding button are defaulted to be on meaning you will receive all alerts.  To turn off a type of alert, simply check on the right slider button to turn it off.

When a button is turned off, it will look like this:

Notice that the second button from the botton, marked Weather related alerts is grayed out, meaning it is turned off.  You can turn these on and off as many times as you like, just remember to use the Save button after you are done.

If you turn off an alert, it will still be stored in the Alert folder on your device.  What you won't get is a noise and visual alert on your phone.

What are alerts?  Alerts are push notifications that we send to users of our Mobile App.  A push notification can be as simple as a quick text message, "  Silver Street is closed due to an accident, please avoid the area"  An alert can be tied to a web page such as this blog, if we need to provide extensive information such as a missing child, a wanted person or a press release.  We can also link you to a tab on the device such as the facebook tab.  We can also push out a flier such as a missing, wanted person or a lost animal.

Push Notifications can be sent to everyone.  Typically this is done in an emergency.  All Users will receive Emergency Notifications.  These will not and cannot be turned off.   We can also set notifications by neighborhoods.  For instance if the Highway Crew is working on your road, we can send notifications within 5 miles of the road.

We can also send notifications that you receive when you enter an area.  This can be done at events with safety information or in an area where we are searching for a missing person.  An example of this would be if we were looking for a lost child in a 5 mile area.  We would send the notification to everyone.  We would also set up a Geo-Coded message so that when someone enters that area, they get a pop up reminder to keep their eyes open.

I will end the changes here.  There are more in the server side that added in to the app to assist us in our emergency planning.  As I roll those out, we will do more articles such as this one.

I want to be clear to our users, that this mobile app has no tracking ability.  If anyone has concerns, see me and I will log into the server side and show you exactly what we can't see.

In the permission folder, the app notices you that we use GPS data.  This is to send messages to neighborhoods or for you to receive messages when you enter an area.  Don't believe it, come take a look.  Would be happy to show it and am proud of the technology.  The mobile app has been provided to the Community at no cost to the Taxpayer.

If you are new to our social media and do not have the app, it can be downloaded here:

Apple Iphone and Ipad 

Google Android Phones:

I often speak to folks and ask them if they have the app.  Often times I hear, no I follow the facebook page.  While it is great that you are following us, we can't control when that information comes up on your page.  With our App we can be certain that you receive our information in two seconds.  Once I push send, your device beeps with the message.

I hope you enjoy the APP.  I am always open to change and ideas.  You can email me at or stop by and chat when I am working.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Effingham Resident Arrested for Transporting Drugs

On 01/01/2016 members of the Middleton Police Department were conducting routine motor vehicle enforcement in the area of the Town Beach on Route 153.

As a result of a motor vehicle stop:

Curtis W White (Age 28)
594 TownHouse Road
Effingham, NH

was arrested on a charge of Transporting Drugs in a motor vehicle.  The drugs seized was marijuana and the quantity seized was consistent with personal use.

Transporting Drugs in a motor vehicle is a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to 
$1200.00 and a license suspension of 60 Days.

He was released on $1000.00 with an arraignment date of 01/19/2-16 at 8:00 a.m. in the 7th Circuit Court Rochester.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Maine resident arrested on 2002 Warrant for Failure to Appear

On 12/31/2015 at approximately 5:30 P.M. Middleton Police responded to the area of Pinkham Road for a Motor Vehicle Complaint.

During the investigation, members of the police department learned that there was an active arrest warrant in effect for a passenger in a motor vehicle police stopped.  The arrest warrant was for a Failure to Appear on a DUI charge back in 2002.  The warrant was issued out of the 7th Circuit Court in Rochester.  The court set a $250.00 Cash Bail on the warrant.

As a result of the warrant:

James D Ferrick (Age 46)
16 Trainor Road
Lebanon Maine

was arrested.  He was processed at the Middleton Police Department and released on $250.00 Cash Bail with an arraignment date of 2/2/16 at 8:00 a.m. in the 7th Circuit Court Rochester. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Community Alert: Richard Penney Update Arrest Notification

On today's date at approximately 1:00 P.M. members of the Middleton Police Department arrested:

Richard J. Penney (Age 38)
Transitional Housing
County Farm Road
Dover, NH 

for the offenses of:

Criminal Threatening with a Firearm
Theft of a Firearm X2
Armed Robbery

These offenses occurred in January of 2013 and ultimately were filed in the Strafford County Superior Court.  A competency Hearing was held in the Superior Court and the court dismissed all the felony charges without prejudice.

The State received new information regarding the competency of Mr. Penney and with the consent and partnership of the County Attorney's Office, those charges were refiled before the court today.

Tom Velardi, the Strafford County Attorney made a compelling argument asking the court to hold Mr. Penney on $500,000 Cash Bail.  Defense countered that Mr. Penney was under the supervision of the Strafford County Community Corrections Program and should be released on PR Bail.  The judge ordered that Mr. Penney be held on $25,000.00 Cash Bail but will allow that to convert to a PR Bail if he is found suitable for supervision by the Strafford County Community Corrections Department.

The Strafford County Community Corrections is a division of the County which employs civilian unarmed employees to supervise candidates acceptable to the program.  They have no police authority and do not do home visits of their clients.  The program was formed as a cost savings program for the County for non-violent offenders.  Since that time, it has been common practice to accept violent offenders.  The Middleton Police has expressed our concerns for the protection of the Community to the Strafford County Commissioners on these matters. We strongly believe that violent offenders should not be released into the community and supervised by civilian unarmed employees with no law enforcement authority. 

Mr. Penney was transported to the Strafford County Corrections Department in Dover, New Hampshire on the cash bail.  We await notification on whether or not he is an acceptable candidate by the Community Corrections Program.  If a release is granted, we will make the notifications to the community.

Also today, a trial was scheduled in the 7th Circuit Court on two charges of Stalking which alleged that Mr. Penney contacted his brother by phone when a Superior Court Order prohibited that contact. The Defense filed a motion to dismiss based on a 3JX Supreme Court ruling which basically states that a Defendant cannot violate a bail condition when he is incarcerated and prior to the bail taking effect.  The Honorable Judge Susan Ashley granted that motion to dismiss.  While we highly respect the court's ruling, we disagree that the facts in this case mirror the non binding decision of the Supreme Court.  A decision to appeal the dismissal rests with the Office of the Strafford County Attorney and the Attorney General who handles Supreme Court Appeals.

Additional information will be released when we receive it. 

A probable cause hearing has been set in the 7th Circuit Court Rochester on the new charges before the court in January.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Wakefield Resident charged with Possession of Drugs in a Motor Vehicle

On 12/26/2015 at approximately 7:30 PM  members of the Middleton Police were conducting routine motor vehicle enforcement on Route 153 in the area of the Town Beach.  The on duty officer observed a motor vehicle travelling towards town at a high rate of speed and following a car to closely.

The officer conducted a motor vehicle stop and based on observations arrested:

Zachary Judd (Age 22)
139 Wakefield Road
Union, NH

on a charge of transporting drugs in a motor vehicle, a Class B Misdemeanor punishable up to a one thousand two hundred dollar fine and a minimum license suspension of 60 day.

His vehicle was towed from the scene. 

Mr. Judd was released on $2500 PR Bail with an arraignment date of January 05 2016 at 8:00 a.m.

The drug involved was marijuana and consistent with a quantity of personal use.