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Location: Somersworth, New Hampshire, United States

I am a veteran who took seriously his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

To serve and protect? I don't think so.

Have you ever been threatened, harassed, lied to, lied about, denied your rights, unjustly fined, arrested, violated, or treated badly by police officers who are paid to uphold the law and keep the peace, but instead violate it and use their power to oppress others who they don’t agree with, who don’t do their will, and who witness their crimes. I first witnessed police corruption when I was 14 years old. I was a passenger in my dad’s van when it was struck from behind by a police car. My father had stopped because there were several police cars on both sides of the road, oncoming traffic, and several police officers fighting with a drunk in our lane of travel, making it impossible to proceed safely. While we were waiting for either the police to get out of the road or for a large enough gap in the oncoming traffic for us to get around the fight, I heard a loud screeching sound followed by a loud bang which accompanied our van being launched forward. The impact lifted the back end of the van off the ground and caused the drivers seat to break off the floor and land on top of my little brother. My dad was severely injured, and a few of us had sustained neck injuries. We didn’t know who had hit us until the cop, officer Dunn of the Stockbridge, MA police department, walked up to my dad’s window and said that he was sorry and didn’t see our van. He had a slurred sound to his voice, like he had been drinking, and later my dad told me that he thought he smelled alcohol on his breath. The other cops who were already on the scene quickly escorted him away and started their “investigation”. They took each of us brothers out of the vehicle one at a time and questioned us behind the van where my parents couldn’t hear us, using leading questions like “Didn’t you hear the siren? Didn’t you see the lights coming from behind you?” I answered honestly that I hadn’t. Nobody in the vehicle had heard a siren or seen his lights. Despite what my brothers and I told them, the police wrote in their report that we had told them just the opposite. The following day there was a story in the newspaper that reported that according to police, my dad was at fault for not moving out of the way of the police car. The police reported that the officer was traveling down the road at 45 mph and had his lights and siren on. Within the next few days, my dad went to the scene and took measurements and photographs. The police car had left over 180’ of heavy skid marks, and over 120’ of light skid marks before striking my dad’s van. The road was level and that night was dry and warm. Some of the people who lived on that road later contacted my dad and told him that when they saw him go past, they were certain that he was driving well over 100 mph. My dad ended up hiring a lawyer, who served notice to the town that he was planning to file a lawsuit. The town and the police department made things difficult for us, and we weren’t able to take them to court until 5 years later. My dad was barely able to walk and couldn’t lift more than a few pounds for a couple years after the accident, and he never recovered sufficiently to go back to his old job. My neck pain lasted about 2 years. After my twin brother and I got our drivers licenses, it seemed like the local cops had it in for us. One day when one of my coolant lines blew, and I had to park my car on the side of the road, I had my brother pick me up and bring me to the parts store to get a replacement hose. By the time we got back to the car about an hour later, a police officer had already broken into my car, searched it, placed a big orange sticker on the windshield, and left it unlocked. Other times we were pulled over and harassed even when we hadn’t done anything wrong. One of those times, the cop who pulled me over was very drunk and belligerent. When my parents finally got their day in court, the police officers all lied on the stand. Fortunately they couldn’t keep their stories straight, and the jury saw right through their lies. The police officer who hit our van was later suspended for a couple weeks after he ran over a pregnant woman, killing her. He was eventually fired after he beat up his wife and threatened to shoot her. Soon after my parents finally got the settlement, my dad died of cancer. After I joined the Army, my request to renew my pistol permit was denied by the chief of police because I wasn’t living in MA anymore, even though I was still considered a MA resident and was still paying MA taxes. Over the years, I have been ticketed for violating nonexistent laws, and arrested for passing a police officer who was driving well under the speed limit, even though I didn’t break any laws. After I moved to Somersworth, I applied for a pistol/revolver (concealed carry) license. The chief made me fill out the required paperwork, then he had me fingerprinted and later sent a police officer to my house “to make sure that [I] actually lived there”. When after a couple weeks, I hadn’t gotten a call letting me know that my license was ready, I went down to the SPD to inquire about it, and the chief told me that he wanted directions to the homes of my references because their addresses alone weren’t good enough for him. Later he told me that before he would issue my license, he wanted a letter from the CLEO of the last town that I lived in. I contacted the CLEO of the town that I had last lived in, and he told me that he wasn’t going to write a letter for me. I told the chief what he had said, and he told me that without a letter, I wasn’t going to get a license. I felt that his actions weren’t right, so I did some research, and found out that the chief had been breaking the law. According to RSA 159:6 the chief was required to issue the license within 14 days and was not allowed to require anything more than the form that is required by the state. I printed out a copy of the relevant law, and brought it down to the police station. I showed the law to the police officer at the desk, and she said that the chief had the final say. When I talked to the chief, he said that he didn’t care what the law said, and that if I wanted a license, I would have to follow his rules. I told him that if he was denying my license, I wanted my written reason for denial. He told me that because I hadn’t finished complying with his requirements, he didn’t have to give me a denial letter. I contacted GO-NH, a few state legislators, and the Attorney General’s office. Two days before my birthday, someone at the PD called me and told me that I could pick up my license. Later my wife applied for her license, and although the chief didn’t give her the trouble like he did to me, he issued the license for only 3 ½ years, instead of the legal minimum of 4 years as required in RSA 159:6.
UNH is in violation of state law and state and federal constitutions.
Last year I found out that the University of New Hampshire has a policy that prohibits students and employees from possessing a firearm on campus without written permission from the chief of police. I did some research, and found out that according to RSA 159:26, the state retains sole authority to regulate firearms, and prohibits any political subdivision from making any ordinance or regulation concerning firearms or ammunition and which declares any such regulation to be null and void. Last month I wrote a letter to the chief of the university police explaining the law. I requested written permission to carry a firearm on campus so that until the policy is overturned, I could carry without fear of retribution. A few days ago he replied with the following:

“Re: UNH III.J. Firearms on Campus

Dear Mr. Logsdon:

Thank you for your electronic message dated January 30, 2006 to Deputy Chief Paul Kopreski of the University Police Department. The purpose of this letter is to advise you that I have denied your request pursuant to UNH Administrative Policy III.J.4 (“the firearms policy”) “to possess a weapon [and] ammunition on campus for instructional or other qualified purposes and in other special circumstances.”

The University of New Hampshire, Durham and Manchester campuses, is committed to providing a safe and secure learning and working environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. My understanding of the firearms policy is that it reflects a sensible view that firearms present a risk of injury that is qualitatively different in the campus setting than in other environments. As you know, the firearms policy prohibits the use and possession of all firearms on the core campus of the University of New Hampshire by everyone except law enforcement officers.

Although you correctly note that the firearms policy allows me to grant permission to an individual to possess a weapon or ammunition on campus under some circumstances, I find none of those circumstances present in the situation described in your message. First, your message does not state that you are presently teaching a class sponsored by an academic program on the Durham campus. While it may be possible for a firearms safety course to be offered on campus at some point in time, especially with the practical portion of the course at an off-campus firing range, it is highly unlikely that I would authorize anyone instructing such a course to possess firearms in all places and at all times while on the Durham campus

I am not persuaded that RSA 159:26 requires me to reach a different conclusion, and do not find that it nullifies the firearms policy for three reasons. First, the plain language of the statute applies to “political subdivisions” of the state, and I believe that term excludes institutions like the University. This understanding of the statute is reinforced by RSA 159:26, II, which declares contrary municipal regulations and ordinances null and void. Second, it appears that the legislative policy of this state is to create safe environments for education. See RSA ch. 193-D (Safe School Zones); RSA 193:13, III. (Any pupil who brings or possesses a firearm as defined in section 921 of Title 18 of the United States Code in a safe school zone as defined in RSA 193-D:1 without written authorization from the superintendent or designee shall be expelled from school by the local school board for a period of not less than 12 months.). Although the University is not a “school” as described in the statutes, its enabling legislation is found in the same title of the statutory code, Title XV, as the provisions for safe schools and for mandatory expulsion of students who carry firearms. Given that similar safety concerns appear to be at work in both RSA 193:13, III and the University’s firearms policy, I do not find that the Legislature’s intent in enacting RSA 159:26 was to repeal the policy. Finally, RSA 159:26 only nullifies municipal ordinances and regulations enacted after the July 18, 2003. The firearms policy was adopted well before that date. Thus, even if the University were somehow to be classified as a “political subdivision,” its policy would survive the enactment of the statute.

The firearms policy provides that weapons may be stored on campus under my control or direction. My department stores guns for various members of the campus community on a case by case basis, and I would be happy to extend the same courtesy to you that I extend to other members of our community.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Nicholas J. Halias
Chief of Police
University of New Hampshire Police Department”

When I shared the letter with some friends, Kevin pointed out that “Nothing has been offered to show what is "qualitatively different" about a campus setting than other environments.”;
“This conveniently ignores Section I, which says, "the state of New Hampshire shall have authority and jurisdiction over the sale, purchase, ownership, use, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms, firearms components, ammunition, or firearms supplies in the state." The obvious intent is that only the state may regulate such things, and other governmental entities within the state may not.
Which brings up this point: if UNH is not a political subdivision, then by what authority does it have a police department and police chief? Can any group of citizens just create a police department? No, only government entities may do so.”;
“And yet, the lawful possession of a firearm in a safe school zone, and even within the school buildings and classrooms, is perfectly legal, even by students. The law requires expulsion for 12 months for students, but there is no criminal penalty, no criminal record, and no crime. And that's just for students: the safe school act, RSA 193-D:1, I
(e), criminalizes "Unlawful possession or sale of a firearm or other dangerous weapon under RSA 159."
All lawful possession is, well, lawful”;
“[He] ignored the broadly written law stating that only the state may regulate firearms, while also seeking unwritten inclusion into the narrowly crafted safe school act. The broad law somehow doesn't include them, while the narrow law must have meant to, even though it doesn't.”; and
“And it is a policy. It's not a law. It is not a violation of any law to possess a firearm on a UNH campus, and any attempt by the UNH police to intimidate lawful ownership constitutes deprivation of rights under color of law.”
Police officers frequently break the law and violate the rights of the public, but it is often difficult and self-destructive to take action against police officers or to go against their will because they can easily retaliate against anyone who stands up to them or points out their wrongdoing. Police officers frequently make false statements and take improper actions to protect police officers who break the law. I know there are some honest police officers out there, but they are either too scared or too apathetic to point out wrongdoing and corruption in their departments, and most are unwilling to take action to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of innocent Americans.
Definition of political subdivision in section VI of RSA 101:2
A part of the UNH website that refers to the University as a political subdivision (see last paragraph)
Are Cops Constitutional?
Couple Arrested For Asking Directions
Riot police attack peaceful crowd with pepper spray, sticks, and pepper ball guns.
Cops happy to kill, but only if paid
If you need to find someone, don't waste your time with the cops, contact Sherlock Investigations
Attorney incensed after viewing FTAA police video

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct in arguing that the state of New Hampshire is the only body that can regulate firearms. However, a university just like any other establishment, can prevent anyone it chooses from entering onto their premises for almost any reason it chooses.

3:04 AM, March 18, 2006  
Blogger Timothy A. Logsdon said...

If it were a private University, then they could decide who may enter the campus. UNH is not a private University. It is a political subdivision of the state, founded by New Hampshire's legislature and funded in part by New Hampshire's taxpayers. The campus is a lot like a small town, not a privately owned business.

3:44 AM, March 18, 2006  
Blogger Christopher King said...

I'm not sure precisely where I stand on the firearm issue on campus, but in general at least I know that you can recognize when the system lies and manipulates facts and laws to spite the little guy.

I am truly sorry for the loss occasioned by your family by what appears to be the reckless, possibly criminal acts of officer Dunn.

I'll be in touch.

Meanwhile, do you wanna' come to the hearing in Nashua on the 18th?


11:06 AM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Timothy A. Logsdon said...

This September I requested a pistol/revolver licence application from the Somersworth Police Department so that I could renew my license. When I compared it to the official state authorized application, it wasn't the same. The SPD was handing out a modified copy of an older version of the form.

2:55 PM, October 27, 2006  
Anonymous OpenedEyes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:54 AM, November 02, 2006  
Blogger Timothy A. Logsdon said...

I consulted Penny Dean, a prominent civil rights/firearms lawyer in Concord, NH, and she confirmed that the Universities policy does in fact violate state law. She also confirmed that title 18 of the United States Code does not apply to Universities.

1:19 AM, November 30, 2006  

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