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  • A casket carrying the body of Greenland police chief Michael Maloney is brought onto the field at Winnicunnet High School in Hampton during his funeral in April.

    File photo by Don Himsel.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    The hearse carrying the late Greenland chief approaches the high school Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    People quietly watched the procession to the high school Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    People quietly watched the procession to the high school Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    A long line of law enforcement officers march in the procession Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    People quietly watched the procession to the high school Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Family waits outside of the funeral home for the start of the procession Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Wounded officer Doherty of the Manchester Police Department in the procession Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Family waits outside of the funeral home for the start of the procession Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    People wait in silence as the procession makes its way from the funeral home to high school Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Nashua police officers march Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    A soldier salutes next to his mount as Chief Mahoney's hearse passes by Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    A uniform hat and helmet carried in Chief Mahoney's procession Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Wounded Manchester officer Doherty in the procession Thursday, April 19, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Chief Maloney's casket arrives for the service at Winnacunnet High School Thursday, April 19, 2012.
Friday, April 20, 2012

Hundreds of officers march to honor fallen Greenland police chief

HAMPTON – Mike Maloney was a fisherman, a doting grandfather, a golfer who could hit the ball a mile but also had trouble figuring out where it went. He was a brother, a husband and a father who “was as proud as a peacock” when his children were born.

A sturdy, robust young man who graduated from Winnacunnet High School 30 years ago come June, Maloney played football on the very spot more than a thousand fellow law enforcement officers and nearly as many civilians bid him a tearful, solemn farewell Thursday afternoon.

“It’s on this hallowed ground that Mike learned the rules, where he learned how to face his opponents,” said retired Hampton District Court Judge Francis Fraiser, one of Thursday’s speakers. “Shortly afterward, Mike embarked on a 25-year career on another field of action, one where the rules are not even.”

Fraiser praised Maloney for dedicating his career to “trying to lower the risk” law enforcement officers face every day. He also took a minute to express personal thanks.

“We thank everyone for being with us in New Hampshire today. Your kindness, your generosity, has helped lift the shroud of despair we’ve felt since last week,” he said.

It was a week ago Thursday when Maloney was shot in the head by Cullen Mutrie while serving a warrant along with a drug task force at Mutrie’s Greenland home. Maloney was eight days away from retirement.

Maloney has been lauded for his actions that fateful evening, for bringing a fellow officer who had been shot to safety before Maloney was fatally wounded. Wednesday, Maloney posthumously received the Medal of Honor from the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police.

The second day of the massive, two-day tribute to Maloney began, like Wednesday, just after dawn. Signs bearing condolences, thanks, best wishes and “you’ll be missed” messages that weren’t in place Wednesday sprouted up along Lafayette Street, the town’s main thoroughfare.

Police and volunteers, who represented almost every civic or service organization in the Seacoast area, set out cones along Lafayette in preparation for a formal law enforcement procession that would rival the best Veterans Day parades.

South on Lafayette the officers marched, led by honor guard after honor guard, including units from Nashua, Milford, Hudson, Merrimack and other towns in the region. Onlookers, in some spots three and four deep, silently watched and listened to various intonations of “left, right, left” from unit commanders. Many held cameras or recording devices aloft, their expressions indicating a combination of awe, respect and a deep hope that such an event wouldn’t be necessary ever again.

The procession included officers on horseback from Hampton and the State Police, and between them and the bevy of officers in multicolor uniforms came motorcycles – scores of them, representing cities and towns big and small in all six New England states.

Once on the Winnacunnet campus, the divisions fell in as ordered, eventually becoming one in front of a temporary stage where Maloney’s family members, speakers, clergy and other dignitaries sat flanked by flag-bearing honor guards.

Civilians not in the main grandstand assembled around the perimeter, many standing, others seated in lawn chairs or on blankets. A grassy slope at the most populated end of the field proved a popular vantage spot.

Portsmouth Police Detective Kristyn Bernier’s stirring rendition of “God Bless America” followed opening prayers and set the mood for the next two hours.

“Here, where Mike Maloney played football 30 years ago, we say farewell to a good friend who dedicated his life to his family and his community,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said. “Mike grew into law enforcement. He loved it. Today was supposed to be a happy time for him. But on that day, not very far from here, in the jurisdiction he’d sworn to protect, Chief Maloney insisted not only on being there, but leading his fellow officers,” Holder said of the five-man team that met Cullen Mutrie’s ambush in front of his Post Road home.

“This act of valor was made so others might survive. He stayed with his fellow officers and helped them to safety,” Holder said. “Let it never be said Chief Maloney died in vain. His work will go on. His legacy will live on.”

Gov. John Lynch, too, lamented the cruel timing of Maloney’s death, telling the gathering the chief was looking forward mostly to spending more time with his wife, Peg, and his family.

“An attack on a police officer is an attack on all of us,” Lynch said. “It tears at the very fabric of society. Mike Maloney was out there because he was gong to see it through until his job was done.”

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte said she found the photo of Maloney and his namesake grandson, Michael Jacob, especially compelling.

“What captured my attention more than anything was that picture … it made me think, ‘What will we tell M.J. when he’s old enough to know who is grandfather was?’ ” Ayotte said, her voice breaking frequently.

“First, we’ll tell him his grandfather was a great, great human being who loved his family,” she said. “There’s no question, Mike Maloney was the police chief every town wants to have.”

Maloney’s predecessor, retired Greenland Chief Scott Blanchard, recalled his marriage to Peg, “his wife and love of his life,” Maloney’s obituary states. “He pulled Peg into a whole new world,” Blanchard said, referring to that of a police officer’s wife. He also recalled his friend being “as proud as a peacock” when his children were born, the fact he was at best an inconsistent golfer but very confident when it came to fishing.

“Mike could hit the golf ball a long way. The problem was where,” Blanchard said to a bit of laughter. “He came to my camp in Maine every year, and the fishing derby began,” he said, his deep voice cracking. “I remember Mike was devastated when (mutual friend) John caught more fish than him. You’d think someone took Mike’s toys away,” he said to a few more chuckles, before pausing.

“This year would have been his revenge.”

A 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, a military flyover, and soulful renditions of “Amazing Grace” and a military march by the New Hampshire Pipe and Drum Corps led up to the traditional folding of the flag and presentation to the family.

Slowly, eight brother officers escorted Maloney’s casket toward the gate where it entered two hours earlier. Cameras buzzed and clicked as they drew near the exit and prepared to slide the casket into the awaiting hearse.

Tears that had welled in Nancy Bozenhard’s eyes spilled onto her cheeks as she stood at attention, watching. She said she has made many friends during her 25 years as an emergency medical technician in neighboring York County, Maine.

“I’m proud to say I have a lot of friends in law enforcement,” Bozenhard said, her jacket zipped against a chilly sea breeze that blew steadily, but gently, across the field.

Among them, though he served across the border in New Hampshire, was a Greenland officer who became Police Chief Michael Maloney.

“Like everybody, I’m here to pay my respects to Chief Maloney and for the other officers hurt that night,” she said, clutching yet tighter the small American flag she toted. “The life of Mike Maloney will stand in reverence for law enforcement (personnel) who sacrifice their lives every day.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashua telegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (Telegraph_DeanS).