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Local & Regional Briefs for Wednesday, April 2

After Year on Job, Weathersfield Police Chief Resigns

Weathersfield — William Davies has resigned a year after being hired as police chief.

Town Manager Jim Mullen said in a news release Tuesday that Davies, who took over as chief after Richard Brown retired, has accepted a job with the U.S. Marshals Service protecting federal courthouses.

His last day in Weathersfield is April 7.

Officer Jonathan Norton will be in charge of the department during the interim, Mullen said.

Mullen said he has started advertising for a new chief and will ask the Selectboard to appoint a candidate review committee to assist in the process.

According to Mullen, Davies said the Marshals Service “is a job I have always wanted to do.”

The town increased the size of the department last year to include three part-time officers, a full- time officer and the chief.

At Town Meeting this year, voters defeated an article to borrow money toward the purchase of a police cruiser and another article to put $5,000 in the police cruiser reserve fund.

A phone message left for Davies was not immediately returned.

N.H. Considers Cellphone Driving Ban

Concord (ap) — Hand-held cellphone use should be treated like driving drunk and should be banned in New Hampshire to save lives, safety officials and others told a Senate panel Tuesday.

Assistant Safety Commissioner Earl Sweeney told the Senate Transportation Committee that drivers could still use hands-free phones, devices built into the vehicle and two-way radios.

Sweeney compared the distraction of driving and talking on a cellphone held to the ear to driving drunk.

“During the horse and buggy days, no one worried if you were drunk because your horse wasn’t,” said Sweeney.

Sweeney said government has a responsibility to enact laws that protect people who are driving impaired, whether from drinking alcohol or talking on a cellphone.

Opponents argued the proposal goes too far, would be difficult to enforce and could lead to more restrictive laws.

“What’s next? Is it cigarettes? Women doing their makeup or hair?” asked Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry.

Rep. Gary Daniels, R-Milford, questioned why the bill would exempt hand-held radio communication but not holding a cellphone on speaker in front of someone’s face.

“In the one case it would be legal; in the other, it wouldn’t be,” he said.

State law currently bans typing and sending text messages while driving but does not prohibit reading text messages, surfing the Internet, dialing cellphones or programming GPS devices while driving.

— Staff and Wire reports