SHERIFF LOVEN RETIRES AFTER 39 YEARS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT

By Lala Dinsmore

If you are 67 years old and have served in New Hampshire's State and law enforcement forces for well over half your life, wouldn't you think it was 'time to hang up the gun, the badge and the hat'? Apparently Sheriff Butch Loven of Milan thinks this is so, as does his wife Karen, married to him for 47 years.

Karen and Robert (known always as Butch) came home from service in the US Navy to the ...

SHERIFF LOVEN RETIRES AFTER 39 YEARS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT

Lala Dinsmore

If you are 67 years old and have served in New Hampshire's State and law enforcement forces for well over half your life, wouldn't you think it was 'time to hang up the gun, the badge and the hat'? Apparently Sheriff Butch Loven of Milan thinks this is so, as does his wife Karen, married to him for 47 years.

Karen and Robert (known always as Butch) came home from service in the US Navy to the Berlin area in the late 1950s. As Karen tells it, "we had a baby and another on the way." (That's John and Bill, whom I remember well since I taught them at Gorham High in the early 70's!) Having worked at the Brown Company before he enlisted in the Navy, Butch went back to a rather unsteady four years of work. "Finally," said Karen, "in early 1963, he heard that there were openings in the State Police Department. "I said, Go for it!‚ and Butch passed all the tests and was appointed on April 14, 1963. He was 28 years old."

After Butch's first year of training, he was away from the area much of the time, but he was eventually assigned to Gorham. It was a good patrol, Karen said, and included the area as far as the Maine border to Carroll County and on up to Berlin. Since there was not much coverage in those days, he would often end up at the Canadian border. I find it interesting that Butch Loven was then assigned to a Hampton Beach Patrol in the summer of 1965, because, as Karen said, "The kids had taken over the beach". For about four seasons Loven would be in his original patrol area in winter and spent his summers working at his Hampton Beach assignment.

Finally in the spring of 1969 the State Police started an Undercover Narcotics Team. Butch, as a member of a selected team, agreed to serve on the team. Karen admitted this "was hard on the boys in school, but I think it made them strong and gave them much respect for the law." Butch Loven continued as an undercover agent until 1975. In fact, he'd been there so long that some of the younger guys started calling him "Big Daddy". Promotions came along following the undercover work, with Butch now being a sergeant with the State Police, serving in the Major Crime Department. "One of his first investigations was the Savage murder in North Stratford, and his last was the Dana Place fire," said Karen. and he would "go to Florida in the winter. Wrong!" she said. Why? Because soon after that Butch was asked by John Morton to be a deputy, Karen said he would fill in for John Morton or would be of use as an extra bailiff. But Butch was not destined to retire quite yet.

When Sheriff Morton became quite ill, Butch found himself doing more and more deputy work when Morton's number two man was reassigned. Butch then stepped into the chief deputy's job, which meant transporting prisoners and making sure that the court and judges were protected. Finally Morton had to resign due to his health and Butch was appointed by the Superior Court judges to fill Morton's term of office. Following Sheriff Morton's death, in 1996 Butch Loven was elected sheriff of Coos County for two years, and he was able to obtain a local Law Enforcement Block Grant to obtain radio equipment for the new state vehicles.

Things began to improve for the Coos County Sheriff's office in March of 1998 when the Coos County Delegation voted a change in status of the Coos County Sheriff's office. Loven and those to follow him would be a full-time sheriff, and Loven received the coveted Cop's Grant which enabled him to hire three full-time deputies. These men attended the NH Standard and Training Academy and became full-time certified police officers.

In November of 1998, Butch Loven again ran as a Republican and was once again elected as sheriff for two years. He started new programs for the sheriff's office inservice training which involved community policing in schools in the North Country. One more election held in November, 2000 had Butch Loven again elected as sheriff of Coos for two years. He promised his wife Karen that it was really his last time he'd be running for sheriff.

"I want to retire and take time to travel with my wife Karen. After 47 years, she deserves it" I'd say Butch Loven deserves it, too. He will be retiring following the January, 2003 election.

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