- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Police officials say the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council, responsible for training every law enforcement officer in the state, is in “financial crisis.”

Capt. Benjamin R. Jean, PSTC support bureau commander, tells The Portsmouth Herald (https://bit.ly/1LvH3cr ) that there are two main reasons for the council’s dire financial state.

First, Jean says, was the removal of millions of dollars from the PSTC’s budget to put toward the state’s general fund.

The second is the dwindling assistance the council receives from penalty assessments, or fees added to traffic tickets and fines for criminal convictions.

Jean says the PSTC’s budget for running the police academy has been “declining year after year.”

The academy is continuing to train officers, but staff and program cuts have been deemed necessary for its survival.

Every member of law enforcement is required to be certified by the academy, a residential and paramilitary training ground for state, county and local police officers.

During an emergency meeting of the council last month, police chiefs voiced support for its survival and the council voted in favor of writing to the governor’s office and state legislators, asking “for their guidance and feedback on how to fund the Police Standards and Training Council.”

A spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan said Monday that she had received letters from the Belknap and Carroll county representatives of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police. Hassan will be meeting with representatives of the council’s leadership to discuss the issue.

Retired Manchester Police Chief David Mara, retained as Portsmouth’s next interim police chief, said he attended a recent presentation by PSTC and it’s his opinion that the academy “shouldn’t depend on how many tickets we write.”

“We have to fund it, no question,” Mara said. “I look at it this way, in these times with everything going on with police departments, it’s not the time to be quibbling about money for training.”

Mara praised the academy for providing “excellent” and consistent training for police officers in New Hampshire.

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Information from: Portsmouth Herald, https://www.seacoastonline.com

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