By the second week of April, the Manchester Police Department had had a detective working as a full-time member of the New Hampshire U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force for less than a month. In that time period, the Marshals made 13 fugitive arrests with ties to the city.
For years, the U.S. Marshals have asked the Manchester PD to assign a full-time detective, but budget cuts and manpower issues prevented it.
“We were in a position to do it now,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal Jeffrey White. “We were able to sell it on what they will get in return — we are going to be after a lot of Manchester fugitives.”
For Officer Daniel Doherty, accepting his new assignment on the task force was a 100-percent no-brainer, he said. The partnership means his department has access to extra manpower, and it can benefit from the technology the U.S. Marshals have.
The partnership is a win for both groups, according to U.S. Marshal David Cargill Jr. and Manchester Police Chief David Mara. The Manchester police possess inside knowledge of the lay of the city, as well as prior investigative work. The U.S. Marshals offer Manchester about five extra officers, who come in to support local police on fugitive cases. Cargill said the Queen City is a “hotbed” for crime.
“Being the largest city in the state, because of population, you have a large amount of people, so you’re going to have a larger amount of crime. So it does tend to produce a lot of warrants,” he said.
Manchester has a high number of warrants issued due to people committing crimes or not showing up to court — and while they are out there and have a warrant, they are most likely committing more crimes, Mara said. He doesn’t think of the partnership as losing a man on his force.
“Instead of taking officers from regular duties, now we have the resources of the federal agency,” Mara said. “So it’s definitely advantageous to getting [fugitives] off the street.”
As a member of the task force, Doherty is also able to work under the regulations of the U.S. Marshals. All task force members have national jurisdiction, which means they can cross state borders to continue their investigations and catch fugitives who flee the state. And border crossing happens frequently. The more serious the crime committed, the more likely a criminal will try not to be arrested.
“I wouldn’t say every case results in them fleeing [that] state, but in a lot of cases when an offender knows they are wanted or wanted for questioning they will flee our jurisdiction or the state hoping we will just say, ‘Oh he’s gone. We’re done with it,”’ Doherty said.
The fact that New England states are so close together is a blessing and a curse because it’s very easy for fugitives to cross state lines, but it also makes it easier for the U.S. Marshals, White said.
U.S. Marshals have been a presence in New Hampshire since 1789, but the Joint Fugitive Task Force, for which police at the town, city and county level take on the roles of U.S. Marshals, wasn’t established until 2002. It was formed as an effort to help clear the state’s backlog of active warrants and fugitives.
Since the task force’s inception there have been more than 5,500 arrests. In the beginning, the U.S. Marshals had task force partnerships with Stratford County and the Greenfield Police. Now it has ties to all 10 counties. Cargill said the size of the U.S. Marshals presence is strong compared with the size of the state.
“We have full-time members and we also have part-time, ad-hoc members,” he said. “There’s a good portion of police chiefs who are ad hoc members. So if we get a really bad case from a local warrant, there’s a good chance someone there is on our task force. They will jump on with us for a week at a time, or for the case.”
They like to target New Hampshire’s most violent offenders — the big ones that truly affect the state’s quality of life. That includes people who commit assault, armed robbery, rape, drug crimes and murder. But they also go after anyone they have the ability to capture.
“We focus on the more violent ones … but we would go after someone who was wanted for a bad check of 50 dollars, and we would arrest them,” Cargill said. “We do not discriminate.”
Many of the fugitives aren’t currently wanted for a violent crime, but their history of violence draws the U.S. Marshals to them, as was the case with recent fugitive David Carey of Manchester, who was arrested in Pembroke.
“He did not have the most glamorous crime. He was wanted for a driver offense and it was a parole violation, but his underlying criminal history was pretty serious, so we chose to feature him as fugitive of the week,” said White. “Within two hours of featuring him we received a tip and had him in handcuffs by noontime.”
When U.S. Marshals get cases assigned to them, they do extensive research and paperwork. They gather photos and possible addresses at which to look for criminals. They interview people connected to fugitives and sometimes build leads by pursuing tips called in or emailed by anonymous citizens.
“When we come to town to work warrants we’re showing up with a minimum of five people,” Cargill said.
The Manchester task force member is funded by the Manchester Police Department, not the U.S. Marshals, and it was up to the city office to choose the right detective for the jobs.
Usually, seasoned veterans with a few years under their belt make better task force members than people fresh out of the academy, Cargill said.
Doherty is a sixth-year officer who in March 2012 was shot five times by Miles Webster. By early March 2013 Doherty was back on the beat after multiple surgeries and a titanium rod implanted in his left leg. Mara also has experience working in street crime, patrol, and the city’s drug unit.
“He is tenacious when he gets going on something,” Mara said. “He enjoys his work, and that’s the type of thing you need. He enjoys doing the research. … Bottom line why I put him in there, he’s a very good detective.”
As seen in the April 24, 2014 issue of the Hippo.