Orford — The town’s police chief has stepped down from the post, leaving the Selectboard with the decision of how to move forward in the short and long term.
Christopher Kilmer, who was appointed chief in November 2008, emailed a letter of resignation to the Selectboard on March 31. His last day on the job was last Friday.
“Thank you for the past eight years,” Kilmer wrote. “It has been a privilege to serve as the town’s chief of police.”
Selectman Paul Goundrey said Kilmer left on good terms and parted ways to take a job in another career field.
Messages left for Kilmer weren’t returned, but the Journal Opinion reported Kilmer is accepting a position with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a public sector trade union. Kilmer is a past president of AFSCME Local 3657.
Goundrey, who sat on the Selectboard when Kilmer was hired, applauded his work, saying it was in line with the expectations he and others had back in 2008.
At the time of Kilmer’s first interview with the town, Goundrey said he was “very professional and very straightforward” and knew the ins and outs of a small town police department.
“It didn’t take long to realize that he kind of got it,” Goundrey said. “He wasn’t looking for or expecting it to become something that it wasn’t.”
Kilmer helped the department get up to speed on the latest practices and procedures and worked well with neighboring agencies, Goundrey said.
“In a small town you can’t be friends with everybody, but I think he was well respected by most people,” Goundrey said.
Kilmer’s departure has left the town of about 1,500 people without a police presence, an obstacle the Selectboard is in the midst of working through.
Grafton County Sheriff Doug Dutile has offered his assistance in the interim.
Reached on Thursday, Dutile said he met with the Orford Selectboard at its April 12 meeting to discuss the road forward.
He said the discussion was productive and in part centered on what the board and townspeople want for police coverage in the future. For example, Dutile said, the board could hire another salaried chief, or contract out services to neighboring towns.
Goundrey said the Selectboard’s current focus is to secure temporary help in the coming weeks, and then will shift its focus to the long term.
“It is a good time to look at what we want to do (and) what are the benefits,” he said.
The sheriff’s department will help the town with coverage for the Fourth of July parade and Rivendell’s graduation.
Rivendell Dean of Students Michael Galli said he was sad to hear of Kilmer’s resignation. Kilmer had a great working relationship with the school system and acted as the school resource officer, Galli said. Kilmer had experience working in a school-based environment while employed at other Upper Valley police departments, including Claremont and Canaan.
In Orford, Kilmer provided advice to staff and students on a wide range of topics, including harassment, abuse and violence issues, Galli said, noting Kilmer also made an effort to get to know the students.
“We are really sorry to see him go,” Galli said. “He was a great asset ... we relied on for a lot of good guidance.”
Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3248.