HAMPSTEAD – The Hampstead Police Department conducted parking violation checks at the Town Beach last weekend and issued tickets, but they weren’t happy about doing so.
Hampstead Police Chief Joe Beaudoin told the Board of Selectmen on Monday night that he had received the information that his officers were not checking on violators without beach parking stickers, as reported in last week’s Tri-Town Times. He said he had heard that the Recreation Commission had said they’d been told the department was “too busy” to do parking checks on Town Beach parking.
Beaudoin said this was not correct and that he had addressed this issue with his department. He told the board his officers patrolled the area and issued tickets, but were not happy to be ticketing upset mothers with young children.
He asked if the Board of Selectmen intended to act on the Recreation Commission’s decision to raise the parking fine from $20 to $50. He said he was not in favor of increasing the parking violation fee.
Board Chairman Sean Murphy asked why the chief wanted to know whether the board intended to raise the fine amount, and Beaudoin said he had to order new tickets and needed to know whether to change the beach parking fine amount on them.
As no one from the Recreation Commission presented a request to increase the Town Beach parking violation fine Monday night, the board agreed with Beaudoin that the present $20 fine, which has been in effect for more than two decades, was sufficient and declined to support an increase.
In other business Monday night:
• An issue raised about the shooting range used by the Hampstead Police Department at the Kent Farm Transfer Station property was switched to non-public for what the board termed reputation protection purposes.
The department routinely uses the firing range located at the Kent Farm Transfer Station and has for many years. Shutting it would cost taxpayer money because police officers would then have to pay to use another town’s firing range for their required certification tests.
Murphy said the decision to go into non-public was made because the resident making the complaint wanted to remain anonymous. The complainant was upset by what was perceived to be increased use of the shooting range. The shooting range is used only when the Kent Farm Transfer Station is closed to the public.
Murphy, contacted after the non-public session, said, “The board took no action.”
• Selectman Rick Hartung questioned whether residents must have a permit to set off fireworks on their own property and whether the fire department has to inspect such events.
Fire Chief Michael Carrier said a permit to have a fireworks display on private property is required by Hampstead regulations but no inspection is required. Residents must go to the Police Department and get the permit, which is signed by both the police and fire departments. If fireworks shot off from an individual’s private property stray onto another property, the police and/or fire department can get involved.
Carrier encouraged people to call either police or fire if they think a safety issue is involved regarding fireworks.
• The board discussed a request from a Hampstead police officer to have a bereavement day’s pay be calculated at time and a half. While the board can’t change the union contract on its own, it can amend its personnel policy and suggest to the union that bereavement time and jury time be added as time and a half pay periods. As the board agreed this is the right thing to do, the officer’s pay would be corrected.