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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

[NH] DV ASSAULT DISMISSED, SO JONES CAN BE SWORN IN AS NEW CHIEF

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[NH] New Chief Jones charged for assaulting his wife, Priscilla - ...the caller - identified only as Steven - was calling on behalf of his mother, Priscilla Jones, who was "grabbed" by Frank Jones, who allegedly would not let his mother leave the trailer. "Steven stated that Jones said he would 'toss his weight' since he is a police officer"...

Assault charge dropped against Salisbury's new police chief
New Hampshire Union Leader
By Pat Grossmith
August 6, 2008
LACONIA – A simple assault charge against the newly hired Salisbury police chief was dropped after his wife told police she was not assaulted, according to Meredith Police Lt. Keith D. True. Frank Jones, 49, of 20 Arrowhead Drive, Bow, was arrested on July 24 and charged with grabbing his wife's arm. The case was dismissed this morning in Laconia District Court, clearing the way for Jones to be sworn in as chief of the Salisbury Police department. The case originally was scheduled for Sept. 3 but was brought forward today, hours before tonight's scheduled Salisbury Board of Selectmen meeting... According to a press release issued by True, on July 31 Mrs. Jones sent police a three-page, notarized written statement indicating there was no assault. "The statement along with a lengthy conversation reduced the state's ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any crime was committed," True wrote. "There were no eye witnesses to the alleged assault"... [Full article here]

1 comment:

  1. Salisbury

    Charge dropped for likely chief
    Letter from wife ends looming assault count
    Concord Monitor
    By CHELSEA CONABOY
    August 07, 2008

    A Laconia District Court judge yesterday dismissed an assault charge against a man from Bow who is on track to become the new Salisbury police chief.

    Frank Jones, 49, was offered the part-time chief position July 23. The next day, he was arrested at a Meredith campground after his stepson, Steven Pieroni, 25, called 911 to say Jones had grabbed his mother's arm and prevented her from leaving their RV. Jones was charged with simple assault and arrested.

    Jones's wife, Priscilla Jones, sent a three-page notarized letter to the police last Thursday, stating that she was not assaulted.

    "Frank has never threatened or touched me in a harmful way," she said.

    She alleged that her son called the police in retaliation against his stepfather for calling the police on him several years ago. She also wrote that a bruise on her arm documented by the police was from an earlier waterskiing accident, not from her husband.
    Attached to that letter was one from lawyer Richard Thorner urging that the matter be resolved "as soon as possible." Frank Jones's lawyer, Robert Hemeon, made a verbal request in court yesterday that the charge be dropped.

    Lt. Keith True, who prosecutes cases for the Meredith Police Department, did not object.

    "The statement (from Priscilla Jones) along with a lengthy conversation reduced the state's ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any crime was committed," True wrote in a press release.

    Laconia District Court Judge David Huot dismissed the charge.

    At a Salisbury selectmen's meeting last night, Chairman Mike Dipre said the board would review the situation with town counsel to see if the town would be considered liable if any further issues came up while Jones was employed by Salisbury. Dipre said he thought that was unlikely.

    "If there are no issues, we're going to hire him," he said during a break in the meeting.

    Jones's arraignment was originally scheduled for Sept. 3. Hemeon said he didn't know who requested that the hearing occur earlier but said the change was necessary.

    "It would have been hurtful to (Jones) to have to wait and have the position in Salisbury up in the air," he said.

    Jones has worked in law enforcement for 26 years. He worked 21 years for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He most recently has worked part time for the Belknap County Sheriff's Office and the Litchfield Police Department. He also teaches criminal justice at the New Hampshire Technical Institute and New England College.

    Jones would replace Kevin Wyman, who left the Salisbury department in January for a full-time position as a sergeant in Boscawen. The job pays $18 per hour for up to 32 hours per week. Jones had not been sworn in as chief when the arrest occurred.

    According to police records, the dispute at the campground focused on Priscilla Jones's car keys. She told the police that she and her husband had been arguing much of the week at the campground and that she was tired of how he treated her sons, Sean and Steven Pieroni. She showed Philip McLaughlin of the Meredith police text messages indicating that "the two were having marital problems," according to his statement.

    On the evening of July 24, she was going to have dinner with her sons and other family members. Frank Jones wanted to take his daughter out to eat. He asked her for the car keys and, when she refused, grabbed her purse. According to the sons' statements, they did not see Frank Jones grab their mother but saw her pulled back into the RV. She told McLaughlin that he had grabbed her shoulder, neck and arm, according to McLaughlin's statement.

    Frank Jones then blocked the door. Priscilla Jones told the police that she called to her sons for help. Steven Pieroni dialed 911 while Sean Pieroni, 22, asked his stepfather if, by blocking her exit, he was holding his mother against her will. According to their statements, Frank Jones stepped out of his wife's way and then swore at her. The Pieronis and their mother waited in another RV for the police.

    When the police arrived, Frank Jones told officers that he had been in law enforcement for 26 years. He told Sgt. Robert Chance that "he knows better and it was just verbal," according to police documents.

    In the notarized letter, Priscilla Jones said Steven Pieroni and Frank Jones had not been getting along. She said they had a history of trouble. About seven years ago, she said Frank Jones called 911 to say Pieroni was assaulting his mother. Pieroni was arrested and went through anger management courses but was never convicted of a crime, she wrote.

    She wrote that, while her son dialed 911, he yelled, "Frank, now you will see how it feels."

    He later said, "He thought he was the next chief of Salisbury," according to her letter.

    She also wrote that she had forgotten, when talking to the police, about the fall she had taken while waterskiing two days earlier, which she said caused the bruise.

    "I want all charges to be dropped as Frank did not cause the bruise, he did not grab me or touch me in any way or hurt me personally," she wrote.

    The state attorney general's office has distributed protocol for dealing with domestic violence involving the police to departments across the state, said Grace Matter, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

    "Certainly any domestic violence should be taken seriously, and domestic violence perpetrated by a police officer needs to be taken particularly seriously because police are often the first line of safety for victims," she said.

    A committee set up by the Merrimack County Sheriff's Office helped the town with its selection process. The committee picked Dan Ball, who was a part-time officer for the town but has resigned. Jones submitted his application for the position after the committee had completed its interview process. The selectmen picked him over Ball.

    Much of the discussion at last night's selectmen's meeting focused on that point. Tax Collector Gayle Landry said she was disappointed in the board's decision. She said she liked working with Ball, who lives in town.

    "I think it's important to have one of our own as our chief," she said.

    Others questioned whether Jones passed a background check. Dipre said he passed it to the board's satisfaction, although one issue did come up. Dipre said he could not explain the situation in detail. He said Jones was reprimanded in 2004, when he worked for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, and was demoted. The situation led to a lawsuit, and Jones was reinstated in his original position and given back pay.
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    http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080807/FRONTPAGE/808070306

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