OSSIPEE — In the wake of an officer involved shooting last fall, Ossipee Police Chief Joe Duchesne is asking for $27,000 to better protect his officers from armed individuals.
Ossipee police officers arrived at John Swanson’s Oakwood Drive residence at about 2:45 p.m. on Nov. 7 to serve Swanson, 53, with several legal documents and to arrest him, a press release issued by the state Attorney General’s Office said.
According to Kate Spiner, director of communications for the state Attorney General’s Office, Swanson refused to come out of his home, and state police officers were called to assist with the unfolding situation.
“At approximately 7:56 p.m., Mr. Swanson was shot during a confrontation with the police,” Spiner said, adding Swanson sustained injuries and received treatment.
Swanson was shot by state police, according to the state. The three who discharged their weapons were identified as Nicholas Levesque, a state trooper for seven years; Michael Cedrone, a 15-year trooper; and Nicholas Cyr, a 14-year trooper.
Swanson was taken to Portsmouth Hospital after being shot. As of Dec. 6, his condition was listed as “good.”
On Jan. 6, Chief Duchesne came to the selectmen to explain his request for money to better equip his officers in light of the incident with Swanson, in which his officers were shot at.
“If there’s one thing it made me realize it’s how grossly unprepared my department is for a situation like that,” said Duchesne, who explained that local police officers’ job in standoffs is to surround the perimeter until SWAT personnel can arrive.
Selectmen support his request to present the proposal to voters in March.
Duchesne said regular uniforms don’t cut it when an officer has to stand in the freezing rain for hours on end. He would like a ballistic vest capable of taking rifle rounds, ballistic helmets and some throw-over camouflage rain gear that would keep officers warm and help conceal them. He also is asking for better sights for police firearms.
The ballistic vests officers use now only protect against handguns, not rifles.
“This subject had more than one rifle in his house that was being fired at us,” said Duchesne, adding that each officer would get a new set of gear.
Selectman Sam Martin chimed in that bullets were flying over the officer’s heads.
“They had a little woodpile for protection,” said Duchesne. “That’s about it.”
According to documents filed Nov. 7 in Ossipee’s Circuit Court, Judge Charles Greenhalgh issued a temporary order of protection against Swanson on behalf of a relative. The order would prevent Swanson from coming within 500 feet of this person or having any contact with her.
Details pertaining to an officer-involved shooting in Ossipee came out in early December during a hearing for a protection order filed by a local woman against a man who was shot by state troopers last month.
She thought he had no guns after he gave up bear hunting but said it turned out he still had a lot of them. “He ended up shooting up my whole house,” said the woman. “This is after I left.”
She said he shot up the doors, windows and furniture. “Three-quarters of my house has to be refurbished,” said the woman.
The Ossipee Budget Committee will be meeting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Freight House, 1 Moultonville Rd., Center Ossipee to review warrant article revisions. Residents will vote at town elections March 10 and at town meeting March 11.
Governmentoverstite.com contributed to this story.