DRACUT — As one of four top candidates for the Dracut Police Chief opening, Hooksett, N.H. Police Chief Peter Bartlett said he is very humbled to be in this position.
“I’m looking forward to the process,” he told The Sun recently. “It would be a great opportunity for me to grow a little bit and continue working in a profession that I really love. Hooksett, like Dracut, had some similar challenges when I got here and I see those challenges in Dracut and I believe that it’s an opportunity for me to grow in my profession while working in a community that seems deeply interested in their public safety.”
Bartlett has been the chief of the Hooksett PD for almost four and a half years and his career in law enforcement spans back to 1987 when he was hired by the Manchester Police Department. Two years later, Bartlett was assigned to the Special Investigations Unit where he worked as an undercover narcotics detective, according to a biography posted on the Hooksett Police Department’s Facebook page. He and two other officers, as part of one of the first Mountain Bike Units in New Hampshire, were awarded the Chief’s Achievement Award for making 267 felony drug arrests in a three-month summer period in 1993.
The hiring of a new police chief in Dracut follows what has been an era fraught with turmoil within the agency. Town Manager Jim Duggan has been working to turn things around through a reorganization of the police department’s command structure.
The other candidates that are being considered for the top cop job are: Russell Stevens, the police chief in the affluent North Shore community of Hamilton; Peabody police Capt. Scott Richards; and Richard Bailey, assistant director at Public Safety Strategies Group LLC.
In his research on Dracut, Bartlett said he found similarities between the town and Hooksett, including the fight against the opioid crisis and the internal problems.
“When I arrived in Hooksett almost four and a half years ago, Hooksett was facing similar challenges internally and with public image, much like what I know of Dracut and I believe that with those similarities come an opportunity for me to try and correct these similar issues,” he said. “Something I found about Hooksett: I have great people working here. This is a great community that I work for and some of the challenges we’ve faced, we’ve faced them together and I’m hoping that in Dracut it would be the same. Together as an agency, we would conquer these challenges.”
Bartlett is a graduate of the FBI National Academy 264th Session in Quantico, VA, and is a board member and control chief for the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, a regional SWAT team in Merrimack County.
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.