EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 22, 2012

Letter: Downing is best choice for sheriff

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

Sheriff Michael Downing has brought many positive changes to the sheriff’s office.

The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office consists of four divisions: patrol, communications, court services, and warrants. Sheriff Downing has each division focused on public safety to protect and to serve.

Sheriff Downing has created a narcotics tip line that has been very successful with the war on drugs in Rockingham County. Sheriff’s deputies under the direction of Sheriff Downing have made several narcotics buys from drug dealers that resulted in many arrests. Sheriff Downing was also instrumental in acquiring thousands of dollars in federal funds under the drug forfeiture program from the many drug arrests made.

Sheriff Downing, seeing a need to fight sexual predators, has deputies teamed with local police departments, deputizing local officers to work Internet crimes against children.

Sheriff Downing participates with the “A Child is Missing Alert Program.” Every 40 seconds a child goes missing. This also helps the elderly (Alzheimer’s), the disabled, and missing adults, too.

Sheriff Downing has recognized the need for enforcing our motor vehicle laws on the highways and roads within the county. He was able to acquire several speed enforcement grants that resulted in over 1,000 motor vehicle stops at no cost to the county taxpayer in order to help keep our roads safe.

Sheriff Downing has taken the leadership role to ensure that county communications is state of the art and up and running. He has spent countless hours in meetings and negotiations making sure Rockingham County is a leader in this service. Sheriff Downing’s Communication Division is responsible for emergency communication 24 hours a day, seven days a week. His dispatch center provides radio communications to 25 police departments and 18 fire/EMS departments.

Sheriff Downing has committed the sheriff’s incident command vehicle to any town that may need this vehicle. During the recent shooting in Greenland with the tragic loss of Chief Maloney, Sheriff Downing loaned out the incident vehicle to Greenland to use as their office for as long as they needed it. He also dispatched deputies to Greenland that patrolled the town in order to help Greenland during that tragic event.

Sheriff’s deputies were one of the first to arrive at that tragic scene and played a major part of extracting the chief during the shooting.

The Town of Atkinson Police Department was experiencing high levels of mold due to water damage. The inside of the building had to be gutted and rebuilt. Sheriff Downing sent the incident command vehicle to Atkinson and the town used the vehicle as its police department for a week.

Sheriff Downing is committed to support all local and State Police agencies with any support they may need. One example was of a missing child in Hampstead. Sheriff Downing dispatched the sheriff’s incident command vehicle to the town. The unit was utilized by the Hampstead police, fish and game, sheriff’s deputies, and state police. The unit was instrumental in the success of the task force in locating the missing child.

He was recently endorsed by Rockingham County Chief of Police Association.

The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department under the leadership of High Sheriff Downing has become a strong proactive professional law enforcement agency that the public in Rockingham County can be proud of.

As the police chief in the town of Atkinson, I fully support Sheriff Downing for the office of sheriff.

Phil Consentino

Police Chief