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WINDSOR, NH – The smallest town south of the White Mountains has become a hotbed of hostility lately, and New Hampshire State Police have stepped in to bring order to the community.
Windsor, a triangle of land located at the northwestern tip of Hillsborough County with a population of around 250, has become a frequent destination for troopers from state police Troop B in Milford. Windsor doesn't have its own police department.
According to the Troop B commander, Lt. Christopher Aucoin, the state police and several other state agencies received a letter from a group of Windsor residents asking for help.
Aucoin said the letter, signed by close to 30 people, expressed extreme concern that two factions in town were feuding with each other, allegedly leading to roads being blocked, violent outbursts taking place and an increase in drug activity.
Aucoin and his detectives took a closer look at the number of calls coming in from Windsor in the past several months and realized that the small town was getting more than its fair share of attention from the state police.
"It's been awful busy in Windsor," said Aucoin. "There's been a substantial number of calls coming in and our troopers have been called to Windsor sometimes numerous times in a night."
The residents' letter, along with a review of the calls to Troop B, prompted Aucoin to request a meeting with the board of selectmen, and during his visit to the town last week, he saw one of the problems first-hand.
"When I was at the selectmen's meeting, the selectmen asked me to look into a citizen's complaint, and when I did, I stumbled into a brawl involving four or five individuals in the street in front of me," Aucoin said.
After breaking up the rumble and making one arrest, Aucoin put his cards on the table and said the town needed more of a police presence than his troopers could provide during their patrols.
"We cannot commit a trooper to one town," he said.
Troopers have dozens of town and hundreds of miles to cover in a shift, and with the violence escalating in Windsor, Aucoin was worried that troopers might not be able to respond fast enough.
He suggested the town contract with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the state police or another law enforcement agency to get some regular police coverage in town.
The selectmen agreed to contract with the state police and will pay $60 an hour to have a trooper in Windsor, running traffic patrols and responding to calls and complaints.
Aucoin said the trooper's schedule would be set by him and not announced to anyone so the police presence wouldn't become predictable.
The town's attorney, Paul Apple of Upton and Hatfield, said the selectmen were following the advice of Aucoin and "taking the steps necessary to protect the public."
Aucoin says it's the right decision. "I think we've begun to get a firm handle on things already in just a couple of weeks," Aucoin said. "The people of Windsor are law-abiding citizens who want law and order. They're tired of the chaos."
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