Mayor says she, police chief don't see eye to eye
Thomas Pappas, chairman of the Nashua Police Commission, disagreed, saying Chief John Seusing routinely contacts Lozeau on important events. But Lozeau said she found out about the Attorney General's Office ongoing review of a complaint against Seusing from newspaper accounts. The complaint alleges Seusing had credibility issues that could have affected his testimony against Michael Monroe, who was convicted of murder two decades ago.
On June 17, William and Eleanor Grant were found stabbed to death at their home, 37 Newbury St. On Wednesday, Shawn P. Burne, 37, was found dead at his home, 41 Newbury St. Police said Burne's death was not a homicide and is not considered suspicious.
It is unfortunate, Lozeau said, but there is definitely a rift between her office and Seusing, although she made it clear she is proud of the Nashua Police Department.
Lozeau, the daughter of a police officer, sees herself as pro-law enforcement. Her 14 years in the state Legislature working on criminal justice issues plus her five years as mayor should have proved that, she said.
Because the Nashua Police Commission, which has oversight over police officers, is one of the last - if not the last - appointed by the Governor and Executive Council, Lozeau and the aldermen only have power over the police department's civilians and budget.
But she worries police officials think she wants change for the sake of change.
"What I want is positive change and local accountability," Lozeau said. "If someone calls my office with kudos or criticism of the department, it would be nice to know the police commission, the chief and I could talk."
The past week with Deputy Chief Scott Howe on paid leave has shown that Nashua needs only one deputy police chief, not two, she said.
Gov. Maggies Hassan and Seusing did not respond to requests for comment.
As to any tension, Pappas said: "Any time there is a lot going on, there's going to be some difference of opinion... Everyone is entitled to their own opinion."
"We don't oversee it. There were some questions raised about the organization, and the chief appropriately asked the Charitable Trusts Unit at the Attorney General's Office to look into it..," Pappas said.
"That is a personnel matter," said Pappas, adding the police commission has final authority.
Anthony I. Blenkinsop, director of the Charitable Trusts Unit, said Friday he hasn't finished his investigation.
Seusing told the Sunday News in late March that he asked for the probe after learning the nonprofit paid Howe to clean the building it owns on Kinsley Street with a Visa debit card instead of by check.
Seusing could be reached if needed for emergencies, Pappas said.
The police department is well-organized, with seven captains and well-trained supervisors in the second largest police department in the state, Pappas said. It has 179 sworn officers, the second-largest department in the state, behind Manchester, Pappas said.
It is healthy to have an independent police commission oversee police, he said.
Lozeau said it is time for more cooperation so she can keep the board of alderman and the public informed without interfering with any investigations.
"I am looking for the police department to feel as though they are part of rest of team, that we all work together."