NPD’s Justin Pearse honored by American Legion

NASHUA – Police officers and others in the audience cheered when Justin Pearse of the Nashua Police Department was named the Northeast Region Officer of the Year by the American Legion.

The ceremony was held during the Legion’s New Hampshire convention in Lincoln in May.

Pearse, 30, a veteran of five years on the Nashua police force and three in New Boston law enforcement, is a part of the Traffic Enforcement Unit, along with Officer Ryan McDermott, Officer David Carrigan and their supervisor, Sgt. Timothy MacIsaac.

Lt. Tom Bolton, Pearse’s divisional supervisor, said the honor was well-deserved recognition of a career that has helped ensure safety for the residents of Nashua, for visitors and for local business owners. Bolton, who has 16 years on the Nashua Police Department, recommended Pearse for the award.

“He is an outstanding officer with a proven passion,” Bolton said. “Justin’s completed cases set the standard for thoroughness. He’s detail oriented and excels under pressure.”

Pearse recently said the unit operates during the darkest hours of night, a time when commercial burglaries, robberies, assaults and other crimes frequently occur. He has responded to vehicle stops that yielded drugs and stolen goods. He and his fellow unit officers are adept at detecting people driving while intoxicated. Evidence of distracted driving such as drifting out of lane will attract their attention.

They are intent on intervening before a tragedy happens.

Bolton said Pearse is the type of police officer the city of Nashua wants to hire. He said Pearse doesn’t just go through the motions when called to a case. He looks at every fact and every detail.

“He will view the case from all sides,” Bolton said. “Justin has an impressive level of tenacity. He also has worked in training new officers and knows the importance of thorough investigation and casework.”

The kudos were received with a smile from Pearse, who acknowledged Bolton’s responses but looked frequently at the clock. Pearse would rather be on patrol than in any spotlight was the clear indication.

Pearse, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern New Hampshire University, said his enthusiasm for work in the field of law enforcement has yet to lose any luster. His plainclothes unit is capable of interrupting a crime before the culprit realizes a halt to the illicit activity is going to be a swift one.

“We are a Problem Oriented Policing unit,” Pearse said. “We call it ‘POP.’ I have more than two years on the midnight shift.”

Bolton interjected that when a citizen calls, he or she wants an officer like Pearse to respond. The Nashua Police Department is hiring, and Pearse is likely one who would help train those inspired to launch a career there, Bolton said.

Bolton added that Pearse was nominated largely because of his proactive approach to policing. He would rather prevent a crime than solve one. He said the award winner already has been recognized for making significant felony arrests, mostly related to thefts, drugs and burglaries.

Nevertheless, despite the intensity of the work, Bolton noted that Pearse still makes time to volunteer with various charitable causes.

“I was pleased he was the recipient of the award,” Bolton said. “I was pleased. But not surprised.”

Loretta Jackson can be reached at 594-1246 or