Todd Faulkner has been a very busy man, and it shows. His 10-page resume — all in fine print — details the diverse expertise he’s acquired in more than two decades as a law enforcement officer.

He is an internationally renowned expert and instructor on the use of force by police, with an emphasis on protocols on how and when to use Tasers. He is a leader in the field of child sexual abuse investigations and finding offenders using computer forensics. He has done extensive work on cybercrime, domestic violence, community policing and training officers on how to handle potentially dangerous situations using “de-escalation” techniques that can avoid having to use force. deadly.

“All police officers have specialties that they develop,” Faulkner says. The 49-year-old is the new deputy chief of the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office, having spent 22 years with the Hinsdale Police Service, including the last eight as chief.

Faulkner, a welcoming and friendly presence, hardly brags about his accomplishments; in fact, it takes a bit of cajoling to get him to talk about all of them.

Despite a long career in policing where he saw quantum leaps in technology, forensics and training, Faulkner says there are two constants – a deep understanding of human behavior and the community you work in.

His long experience at Hinsdale taught him that.

“In all my years there, I saw the good, the bad and the ugly. Everyone knew me. I knew the family stories. I knew their stories; I knew how people related to each other. others.

“You build trust. It might not always be friendships, but I’ve found that if you treat everyone with respect – even if you’re dealing with them on the worst days of their lives – that respect will be returned.

Faulkner has always had a deep familiarity with this part of New Hampshire and Vermont, being born in Brattleboro and raised just south of there in Vernon, where his father, Gordon Faulkner, worked at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Generating Station. Gordon and Todd’s mother, Charron Faulkner, operated a farm.

“I started working when I was 10, stacking bales of hay on the farm,” says Todd Faulkner.

When he was 14, he had the opportunity to patrol with Vernon Police Chief Dennis Johnson to introduce him to law enforcement. During his teenage years, family friend Brenda Merritt, an emergency medical technician in Vernon, encouraged him to begin training in her field.

In 1989, his senior year at Brattleboro Union High School, Faulkner joined Rescue Inc. in Brattleboro as an EMT and was associated there until 2009. While working with the ambulance company, he credits himself with helping the emergency treatment of more than 4,000 patients. , at a time when he also had other jobs.

After graduating from high school, Faulkner earned certification from the Vermont Police Academy and completed field training with the Brattleboro Police Department. After that, he enrolled at Southern Maine Technical College—now Southern Maine Community College—in South Portland, where he earned an associate’s degree in law enforcement technology.

He then worked briefly for a surveying company and in 1992 became an armed tactical security officer at Vermont Yankee, where he remained until 1997 when he was hired as an officer in the police department. of Hinsdale.

“When I joined Hinsdale, I thought it would be a stepping stone to another job,” he says. “But I quickly understood that there was such a variety of work that I was never going to get bored. Everything from homicides to servants to burglaries and traffic stops. I was busy, extremely busy, and eagerly waiting for 2 am when things would have calmed down so I could access my paperwork.

With a population of 4,000 scattered over 22 square miles, Faulkner sometimes found he was the only officer on duty. He made it his mission to carefully study the community and its people.

“It’s a tough city,” he says. “You see that everything goes through you. Sometimes during a shift I would receive 30 calls and make five arrests.

Per capita, officers in Hinsdale handled more calls than individual police officers in Keene or Brattleboro, he said.

Dispatch for the Hinsdale Police Department was done through the Cheshire County Sheriff‘s Office, and Chesterfield Police supported Hinsdale when more officers were needed.

“We all trained together; we had family days together,” Faulkner says of the coordination between the two departments. “We knew each other very well.”

He also learned during his years at Hinsdale that there is no substitute for the most basic job required of an investigator – interviewing people.

“I have to say the same to young officers – get off your ass and go knock on doors,” he says. “The best information comes from the community. People pay attention to their city, their neighborhood, their neighbors.

Faulkner developed an interest in how to properly train officers for potentially dangerous situations while on patrol.

“It’s ‘when-then’ training – when something happens, then what do you do? It’s scenario-based; we get the officer to respond.

This led him to become familiar with techniques for defusing and defusing confrontations.

It also led him to become an expert in the use of Tasers. Eventually, he helped more than 50 police departments in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine develop and implement Taser guidelines and training. Using his expertise as an EMT, he also trained regional emergency medical services personnel on the proper treatment of patients who had been Tasered.

Eventually, this expertise led him to train law enforcement agencies across the United States, Canada and Europe on the use of Tasers, as well as de-escalation techniques. He ran these training sessions for 15 years, until he grew tired of the constant travel.

Along with developing his expertise in Taser use, he became involved in child abuse investigations, through an association with Chesterfield Police Prosecutor John Dudek, who worked in this area.

“John taught me a lot,” says Faulkner. “I have handled hundreds of child abuse cases. This is my bailiwick.

In 2006, he was promoted to Lieutenant in the Hinsdale Department, investigating felonies, child sex crimes and computer crimes, as well as serving as a liaison with the Cheshire County Prosecutor’s Office.

He also became skilled as a forensic interviewer of children in sexual abuse cases and in tracking down offenders who used computers in their crimes.

“I’ve always had an interest in computers, even when I was young I learned DOS programming and how they worked,” he says. “I had an affinity for technology.”

In 2010, Faulkner, still employed at Hinsdale, became a special investigator with the NH Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which had been established in 1998 to investigate cases of child sexual exploitation involving the use of technology. . These crimes include child trafficking, online solicitation of minors, and possession, manufacture and distribution of child sexual abuse images.

“There is an aspect of hearing nothing, seeing nothing,” says Faulkner, when it comes to sex crimes against children and those who commit them. “You don’t want to admit they’re in your community, but all communities have them.”

In 2018, while still chief at Hinsdale, he became the task force’s second-in-command. He retired from Hinsdale in November 2019 and continued to work for the task force under a joint deal where he was also hired as a lieutenant in the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office, heading his new forensic laboratory. Funded by state money allocated to the working group, the laboratory is located at the lower level of the department.

Faulkner was named deputy chief last month, replacing Trevor Croteau, who retired on June 30 after 24 years in office under three different sheriffs.

In addition to his duties with the sheriff’s office, Faulkner also works with the Monadnock Region Child Advocacy Center, one of nine such organizations in the state that provide safe, child-friendly places to interview victims of sex crimes.

“These cases involve a lot of digging. It’s like putting together a puzzle; a few pieces are there, but you have to put all the pieces together to find out what really happened,” he says.

He admits that a regular regime of investigations into such heinous crimes has had an effect on him.

” It’s inevitable. I’m a different person from when I started. You look at humanity in a different light. I go walking down the street and I notice certain behaviors.

And it’s hard work to just give up at the end of a shift, he says.

“I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t come home thinking about a case.”

Eventually, however, “you need to dissociate yourself” from investigations and find time for friends, hobbies and hobbies, he says. He spends much of his free time working on his tractor, or with his chainsaw and chipper, clearing brush, at his home in Cheshire. Plus, every year, he and buddies embark on a four-day, 48-mile canoe and camping trek on the West Arm of the Penobscot River in Maine, near the Canadian border.

Invariably, however, his mind returns to business.

“My passion is investigation,” he says.

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