Not Exactly a Westport Story: Chief Michael Maloney Remembered
Small Town Tragedy
Today, Chief Michael Maloney of Greenland, NH, was laid to rest. He was killed on April 12 during the service of a narcotics search warrant. Officers from Newmarket, Dover, the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and Rochester were wounded. The suspect, Cullen Mutrie, and his girlfriend, Brittany Tibbetts, are dead as the result of a murder/suicide perpetrated by Mutrie. Although this is not a Westport Island story, it could be an Anytown, USA story.
My husband and I mourn as retired law enforcement officers. I mourn as a New Hampshire native who: knows Greenland as the home of a best friend; graduated from UNH; worked at the Dover Police Department while at UNH; and lived in Newmarket before moving to San Diego and joining the San Diego Police Department. I feel tied to the officers and the communities.
When we mourn and remember Chief Maloney — along with his family and his communities, it is with deep sadness that my husband and I remember other such deaths and moments in the lives of families, officers, friends, and neighborhoods. The loss is beyond that felt by the families and communities involved… Families and friends have lost loved ones. The officers involved will never forget that night and will live with the sometimes unreasonable guilt of surviving. The community, now violated, will never recover its “before the incident” sense of security. And, we all feel a sense of helplessness with the rotting cavity that drugs and the illicit drug market have bored in our extended families and neighborhoods. This event will live on as yet another training scenario of the dangers inherent in dealing with the drug addicted, the alienated, and the mentally ill.
The proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child” is oft quoted in child development. Likewise, it takes all of us and all of our villages to address the permissions given to drugs in our culture and our families. Donna Tibbetts wisely stated at her daughter’s vigil this past week, “Just remember, life is too short. Make good choices…take one day at a time; and make every day special.”
The best way to commemorate the Chief who gave his life, as well as the suffering from this tragedy, would be for just one person, and hopefully more, to recognize bad choices and start the journey back to those who care and to a life well lived.