Hanover Chief Still Recovering, Uncertain of Return Time

Hanover — Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone, on medical leave since suffering a stroke in February, is hoping eventually to return to work, but it may be several more months before the town knows if he will be able to regain enough strength to carry out his duties, Town Manager Julia Griffin said.

Giaccone, 65, left a Boston hospital several weeks ago and is back in the Upper Valley, undergoing outpatient physical therapy, Griffin said in an interview. He is focusing on rebuilding strength on his left side, which was most affected by the stroke.

“He’s made a really great recovery and we see him often,” Griffin said. “For now, we’re supporting him in his recovery.”

Griffin said she had a “four to six month” time-frame to see if Giaccone, a Grantham resident, can return or if the town will need to hire a new chief.

Capt. Frank Moran, a veteran officer, has been running the department in Giaccone’s absence, though Griffin said that the chief has remained in constant contact with Hanover officials.

Though he has long been eligible for a full pension — he has 40 years of service time — Giaccone has told the town he wants to keep working and doesn’t plan to retire, Griffin said.

“You have people who can’t imagine doing anything else — Nick is one of those people,” Griffin said. “He sleeps, eats and breathes police work.”

To return, Giaccone will have to maintain his law enforcement certification, which includes qualifying at a firearms range, and meeting physical fitness standards, Griffin said.

“Even somebody who would not necessarily actively respond to a scene, they have to be physically fit,” Griffin said.

Giaccone could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Hanover is not the only local town dealing with uncertainty at the top of its police department — Lebanon has been without a permanent chief since Jim Alexander retired in February. Lebanon City Manager Greg Lewis said yesterday that he hopes to name Alexander’s replacement in May.

Gary Smith, Alexander’s long-time deputy, is currently running the police department.

Lewis said in a recent interview that city officials had whittled the list to a handful of finalists and that none of them were currently with the department.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.