Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney. Photo: GPD website
A small-town New Hampshire police chief was fatally shot and four other officers were wounded during a narcotics raid late Thursday.
Greenland (N.H.) Police Chief Michael Maloney was eight days from retirement when he was gunned down during the raid targeting Cullen Mutrie, 29, at a Post Road home. Mutrie and a female acquaintance were later found dead in the home, reports the Boston Globe.
Mutrie was a wannabe firefighter who faced nine steroid-related felonies in 2011 and had been arrested for domestic assault in 2010. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor assault charged in 2007 for punching a man in the face, reports Seacoast Online.
Injured in the shootings were Detective Gregory Turner of the Dover Police Department, Officer Eric Kulberg of the University of New Hampshire Police Department, Officer Scott Kukesh of the Newmarket Police Department, and Officer Jeremiah Murphy of the Rochester Police Department. Officers Kukesh and Murphy remain in critical condition.
Chief Maloney, 48, had served as Greenland's chief since May of 2000. He had 26 years of law enforcement experience. An autopsy revealed the chief was shot in the head.
Late Thursday, Tara Laurent was sworn in as the Greenland PD's new chief. Laurent was a detective with the Newmarket PD. Chief Laurent will oversee six full-time and three part-time officers in a jurisdiction of 3,500 residents.
The agency is, according to the International Association of Police Chiefs, "the face of American policing" because 89% of the nation's law enforcement agencies serve populations of 25,000 and fewer, while 74% serve 10,000 and fewer.
"I am not only saddened but also angry that these types of incidents continue to occur with such alarming frequency," said Walter McNeil, IACP president, in a statement. "Last year 72 officers were feloniously killed—that means that 72 officers were killed in cold blood by brazen criminals who showed no hesitation in attacking law enforcement officers. This trend has to stop."
In New Hampshire's rural setting, small departments often rely on mutual aid from surrounding departments for task-force operations. This approach to resource sharing is not unusual in the state of 1.3 million residents, said Jeff Strelzin, the chief of the homicide unit in the Attorney General's office.
"Generally speaking, there's a high level of cooperation in New Hampshire law enforcement," Strelzin told POLICE Magazine.
While urban chiefs can rely on other command staff members, chiefs of departments with up to 40 sworn officers must at times become involved in enforcement operations, said Ephrata (Pa.) Police Chief William Harvey.
"The smaller the agency, the more a chief has to work," said Harvey, who also writes PoliceMag's Recruit blog. "You may be the senior person, the one with the most insights, the one with the most knowledge of how to handle operations like this."
By Paul Clinton