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Southern New Hampshire Special Operations Unit on standby

By Barbara Taormina
Union Leader Correspondent

April 19. 2013 3:49PM

The Southern New Hampshire Special Operations Unit remained on standby Friday afternoon as Massachusetts police continued a door-to-door search for marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who escaped into a Watertown neighborhood during an gun battle with police early Friday morning.

"As of yet, we've not been called," said Londonderry Police Capt. Gerard Dussault. "Right now, the team is on standby."

Formed in 1997, in the Special Operations Unit is a regional response team that provides tactical and specialized services primarily to its community members that include Derry, Londonderry, Salem, Windham, Hudon, Pelham Atkinson and Litchfield. Based in Derry, Capt. George Feole of the Derry Police Dept. is the unit commander.

"Right now, we are ready to take the place of Nashua police if they need us," said Dassault adding that the Nashua's SWAT team and bomb squad were in Watertown, assisting Boston police with the manhunt.

Dussault said Londonderry had a contingent of seven officers that were part of the Special Operations Unit. If the search continues, the team may be called to relieve officers who have been searching since late Thursday night.

"It's impossible to say how the search is going from here," said Dussault, one of the founding members of the Special Operations Unit. "Right now, things are happening very fast."

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