Londonderry OKs State Police Contract To Combat Drug Crime

Mar 1, 2016

At Town Meeting Tuesday, Londonderry voted to sign an $86,000 contract with the State Police. Supporters of the measure say the police protection will help combat drug activity and a rise in property crimes pegged to the state's heroin crisis.

Audio for this story will be posted by approximately 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2.

The vote was called in Londonderry after a rash of burglaries and alleged drug activity encouraged the select board to form a policing committee to look at options.

The committee recommended that Londonderry hire the State Police for 25 hours per week, and the question was put before voters at Town Meeting.

After about a half hour of debate, the town voted 95-67 to hire the State Police for a year.

But some in the crowd wondered if it would really do anything to spend the money on part-time protection.

"This $86,000, you might as well go 50 miles an hour down Route 100 and throw $100 bills out the window," one resident said.

Peter Pagnucco was chairman of the policing committee, and he said the part-time protection was not going to take care of all of the town's problems.

Peter Pagnucco, standing, answers questions about the Londonderry Policing Committee's recommendation to contract with the State Police.
Credit Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

But he said there's been a growing call to at least begin to address the problem.

"If communities don't do anything, then they just give up, and they get what they get," Pagnucco said. "And right now what we're hearing in Londonderry is that people are upset with what they're getting."

Cathy Aragi said her daughter was battling addiction and it was up to Londonderry to take a stand and do something in its own community about the heroin crisis.

"This is where it starts: in our town. Not the town next door, not the state up above, not Burlington. It's addressed in this town." — Cathy Aragi

"I have said from the beginning, we have serious opiate addiction in this town," Aragi said. "We need to address it now. We can't wait down the road. This is where it starts: in our town. Not the town next door, not the state up above, not Burlington. It's addressed in this town."

The vote commits Londonderry to a one-year contract and the select board said it will take a hard look at the impact of the extra protection before extending the contract next year.