I am considering running for the position of either Kingston police officer or town constable in the upcoming March election. I am intrigued at the thought of flying through town at a buck-ten with blue lights spinning, sirens wailing and wig-wags flashing while trying to keep my portable drink mixer from tipping over. A Smash Mouth CD would have to blast at full volume in order to eliminate hearing any pesky calls to actually go and help someone.
Town Warrant Article 14 may kill the chances of fulfilling my bucket list dream.
It asks the voters to repeal RSA 41:47 requiring the election of two police officers and a town constable while adopting RSA 105:1 allowing the town to appoint officers through a rigorous screening process adopted by most progressive law enforcement agencies nationwide.
Even I have to admit Article 14 just makes sense as our current law actually represents a traditional standard of hire that dates back to the 1800's when we also elected surveyors of wood, bark and lumber, a town janitor, sealer of weights and measures, hog reeves and fence viewers. (see side bar)
We currently have a police department with 9 full-time and 4 part-time professionally trained cops, yet we still vote for three every year. The candidates for the past 20 years have all been 'already on the job' Kingston police officers. Their candidacy is merely a mechanical process of going through the motions to satisfy the law. The fact these positions are not challenged and always supported by the voters serves as further endorsement of the warrant article.
Article 14 is not designed to eliminate any police positions or take any voting power away from the public. Simply put, the current three-cop election process is just old school with repeal long overdue.
The hiring and training of Kingston police officers cost taxpayers $21,949.95 per appointment. Not all these monies come from the Kingston coffers, but taxpayer funded just the same.