Claremont police chief announces retirement

  • From left, Mike Kokoski and Chris Wagner of the New Hampshire State Police, Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase and Sullivan County Sheriff John Simonds speak about the nine-hour standoff on Hanover Street in Claremont, N.H., on Aug. 15, 2019, that ended with suspect Michael Burns being taken into custody without injuries. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News file photograph — Geoff Hansen

  • Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase at the Claremont Police Department, Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News file photograph — James M. Patterson

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 5/7/2022 1:04:57 AM
Modified: 5/7/2022 9:49:29 AM

CLAREMONT — Police Chief Mark Chase, who began his policing career as a patrolman in the city in 1990 and has served as chief since January 2017, will exit his post this summer.

Chase, 54, recounted some milestones in his life including graduation from Stevens High School, marrying his wife, Sharon, in 1991 and raising two daughters. Now another milestone has arrived: retirement, effective July 29.

“I have been very lucky to work in the community that I grew up in, one that has given me so much of who I am,” Chase wrote in a Facebook post Friday. “I have become a grandfather and have two more women in my life to love and care for, Sophia and Nora. I have met so many people through my work at Claremont (Police Department). I count many of the people I have met as friends, and I hope they also think of me as their friend.”

In a phone interview on Friday, Chase spoke about some of what has made his career in law enforcement a rewarding profession.

“Many times I have been holding people’s hands who are in agonizing pain and helped them through that,” he said. “I have talked to them after that, and that is kind of the benefit of being in the community. I see people quite often after a traumatic incident, or I see their family.

“Those are the ones that stick with me, and I have had people thank me for what I did, and to be honest there are people who thanked me and I don’t remember what I did.”

But on the other end, Chase, who has witnessed the worst and the best the city has to offer, knows that not everyone is eager to thank him.

“I have walked into a store and had someone scowl at me,” he said. “They know who I am, and I guess didn’t have a great interaction with me. But I think I have always tried to do what is right. I have tried to treat everybody the same, whether they had a million dollars or a penny, and I think that has worked well for me.”

Chase started working with Lebanon police dispatch right out of high school before being hired by Claremont in 1990 as a patrolman. A year later, he returned to Lebanon as an officer and was there until 1994, when he came back to Claremont and served in different capacities, including lieutenant and police prosecutor. From 2002-04, he was back in Lebanon, then returned to Claremont for good after Alex Scott was hired as chief.

Chase said major accomplishments during his tenure as chief include the purchase of body cameras and cruiser cameras, as well as continued accreditation by CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.)

Chase, who said he has no immediate plans for how he’ll spend his retirement, praised the department in his Facebook post.

“There are so many talented people in this organization, and the City of Claremont is very lucky to have them,” he wrote.

“This is bittersweet, because I truly love this community,” Chase said Friday. “It is a great city.”

Chase’s successor will be selected by the three-member Police Commission. He said the position will be posted internally, and the commission can decide whether to broaden the search outside the department. The department also is in search of additional officers. Chase said the department should have 25, but is down four. One is coming on next month.

Claremont is not the only Upper Valley department searching for a chief. Hartford is also searching for one after Deputy Police Chief Brad Vail, who had been leading the department during an extended vacancy in the chief position, stepped down to take the helm in Barre, Vt., earlier this year.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.




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