The Early Years
From the1940’s through the early 1970’s, the Newington Police Department consisted of a part time elected Police Chief and several special police officers, who assisted during the evening and weekend shifts. Primary duties included residential patrols and, as the businesses began to build up in town, the chief started to make bank runs as a means to supplement his income. William Labonte served as the Police Chief until 1962, when Joseph Navelski was elected chief. Everyone used the chief’s personal car, usually equipped with a blue light and, later on, with a bulky radio. Uniforms were purchased individually, along with whatever revolver the officer might already own. Such names as Beals, Thomas, Roy, Yastek, and Bond were found on the roster of the department for many years. Thefts and burglaries were interspersed amongst the usual motor vehicle accidents, reports of which were often written on the closest available piece of paper, including the backs of envelopes. Records were stored at the chief’s house in an appropriate cardboard box. Training was almost non-existent, usually consisting of one-day courses taught by the New Hampshire State Police or by a ranking officer from one of the larger city departments. Newly hired officers rode with a more experienced officer for a while, learning the ropes, until that long-awaited day when one was considered ready to patrol alone. The 1960’s saw the advent of a formal training program for entry-level full time police officers when the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council was formed. Early on, classes were held in Concord and then at Pease Air Force Base, eventually transferring to the newly built training facility on Fan Road in Concord. Radio communications were maintained through the Police Department in Portsmouth and the single mobile radio in the chief’s car.
The Middle Years
McDonald’s was joined by J. M. Fields and the Food Fair Supermarket, and eventually Montgomery Ward was built. In 1971, the Town Meeting voted to change the process of selecting a police chief from the elected position to one appointed by the Board of Selectmen. By 1974, Governor Mel Thompson oversaw the groundbreaking for the Newington Mall and the need for a full time police department became apparent. The police department received its very first cruiser, a 1974 Chevrolet purchased through Bud Taccetta, in a color resembling pea soup. Then Selectmen Syd Frink, Paul deRochemont and Fred Smith Jr. arranged for an office to be constructed by Bobby Knox at the Old Town Hall and our first filing cabinet was purchased, along with a desk, chair and a hand-me-down typewriter from the Town Hall. Having worked for three years part time for Chief Navelski, John Stimson was appointed as the full time police chief. Part time officers for those early years included Chester Banley, Joe Akerley, Jim Faria and John Pickering. Our communications had switched to the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, but the Officers still had to rely upon an annual published book listing all license plates, in the absence of computers (which only appeared on the wrist of such crime fighters as Dick Tracy). Two additional full time officers were added in 1975. Tom Roy labored long and hard to add partitions to the first floor of the Old Town Hall, providing us with additional office space, storage, photographic darkroom and interview capabilities. The often-cumbersome portable radios, initially about the size of two cartons of cigarettes, became smaller and lighter, and federal funds became more accessible for law enforcement. A clerical position was added and many of our police officers were drawn from the Security Police at Pease Air Force Base. Patrols around town were made 24 hours a day and the full time staff increased, until reaching its current complement of 10 with the final addition of 2 officers in 1983 as the Fox Run Mall opened for business. When the new Town Hall was finished, the Police Department moved from the Old Town Hall into the former town offices inside the Fire Department/Civic Center. And police work came into the 20th century with a bang. Computers were added to our office, a Tandy computer with a whopping hard drive of 35 Megabytes, nearly the size of some of our software programs today.
RETIRED CHIEF JOHN K. STIMSON
Chief Stimson began his career in Newington as a Special Police Officer for then Police Chief Joseph Navelski in 1971, while working as the head of security for J.M. Fields and attending the University of New Hampshire in Durham. In 1974, with the start of the Newington Mall, the Board of Selectmen conducted a search for a full-time Police Chief and selected John Stimson. Chief Stimson attended the 25th NH Police Academy and the 139th Session of the FBI National Academy. He served as President of the Rockingham County Law Enforcement Officers Association and President of the NH Association of Chiefs of Police and was that association’s representative to the IACP State Associations Of Chiefs of Police. He is Past President of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police and served on the NH Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserve Committee (NHESGR).
Police Chief John Stimson retired at the end of July 2001, after serving for 27 years as the head of the Newington Police Department.
RETIRED CHIEF BRADLEY B. LOOMIS
On August 1, 2001, Rye Police Chief Bradley B. Loomis was sworn in to replace retiring Police Chief John K. Stimson. Chief Loomis was selected from a field of over twenty candidates who applied for the position. Chief Loomis comes to Newington after serving as a full-time officer with the Durham Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant. He then served five years as the Police Chief in Ossipee, N.H., before taking the position of Police Chief in Rye, N.H., where he remained for nine years. Chief Loomis was a member and past president of the Rockingham County Police Chiefs Association, and was also a member of both the NH Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In addition to serving as Police Chief, Chief Loomis was Co-Emergency Management Director for the Town. Chief Loomis retired from police work on March 25, 2005, to seek a career in real estate.
RETIRED CHIEF JON D. TRETTER
Chief Tretter was hired by the Town of Newington in 1985 as a patrol officer. In 1987 he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and Patrol Division Supervisor. By 1989 he was promoted to Sergeant, Investigation Supervisor and Juvenile Officer. In 2000 he was promoted to Lieutenant and with the retirement of Chief Bradley B. Loomis, he was promoted to Chief of Police in 2005 where he served the Town of Newington for 11 years, retiring from the department in December 2016.