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Senior Correspondent

Whether at 2:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m., our Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit rolls into action when called upon to diffuse a situation that could escalate into a full blown domestic or terrorist problem.
There are no words that sufficiently describe the heroism and dedication of these responders, men and women in law enforcement, who are our first line of defense. They are tried and proven professionals who train specifically for this purpose and are committed to public safety.

Recently I had the honor and privilege of meeting three of SOU’s finest as they presented a Power Point Presentation on the Mission of the New Hampshire Special Operations Unit. The program was sponsored by the H-HH Veteran’s Organization and took place at Tad’s Place, which is located in Havenwood-Heritage Heights Retirement Community in Concord, N.H. My sincere thanks goes to Sheriff Scott Hilliard for making this possible.

Present were: Scott Hilliard, Sheriff, Merrimack County; Mike Pearl, Commander of Special Operations; and Christ Paquette, Information Technology Specialist. Their presentation was riveting and powerful with full disclosure and followed with an open Q-and-A. As expected, many questions and concerns were raised and fully answered.

Here is an overview on the professional law enforcement procedures offered by the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit.

Their goal:
To establish and maintain the Central New Hampshire Operations Unit. To be prepared to respond to a “special threat” incident when requested, and carry out assaults, or other activities, to insure the protection and safety of innocent civilians and police; to apprehend or neutralize the criminal element involved.

Organizational Structure:
Consists of a Control Chief and Assistant Control Chief, followed by Commander and Assistant Commanders, and concludes with Team and Element Leaders. Whenever a crisis occurs, members of the tactical, medical, negotiators, tactical dispatchers, clerical support and support services make up the selection of members.

A CNHSOU Chief of Police has direct responsibility and control of the CNHSOU and holds the position of Control Chief. He reports directly to the Chief of Police, or the Officer in Charge, of the requesting police department on all calls. This unified command staffs the command post and prepares and issues all press releases. The Chief of Police is responsible for deciding whether the SOU should be deployed after receiving a request from the SOU Commander or designee.

Eight to 16 hours per month are offered to team members, including specialty training.

Use of Force:
Only when all other options have been exhausted will force be employed. The CNHSOU’s primary goal is the support of the hostage and negotiation situations with barricaded suspects, and sniper incidents.

In short, the CNHSOU is trained and prepared for any emergency impacting a citizen of New Hampshire. It’s a calling that all law enforcement agencies have taken the oath to defend with their lives if necessary.

The CNHSOU is available to all member communities and will respond immediately to any activation, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Photos with captions were provided by the SOU to accompany this article. They give a clear picture of what the SOU faces on a daily basis, when called upon to react on a situation that puts one or more of our citizens in harm’s way. To them we are deeply indebted and thank them for their bravery and dedication.

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