By Joey Cresta
Hampton Union, Thursday, April 19, 2012
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Local and national dignitaries and thousands of police officers from across the country joined the Seacoast community in mourning at a funeral service for slain Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney on Thursday.
The services were held on the football field at Winnacunnet High School — the same field Maloney played on in his youth. Maloney, 48, was killed April 12 after more than a quarter century in law enforcement when accused drug dealer Cullen Mutrie, 29, of 517 Post Road in Greenland, shot at Maloney and four other officers serving a warrant.
Those other four officers, Newmarket Det. Scott Kukesh, 33, Rochester Det. Jeremiah Murphy, 34, Dover Det. Gregory Turner, 32, and University of New Hampshire Det. Eric Kulberg, 31, were able to attend Thursday's ceremony but were closely guarded by authorities. The men are undercover detectives with the N.H. Attorney General's Drug Task Force.
Dan Doherty, a Manchester officer shot multiple times on March 21, also was in attendance. Seated in a wheelchair, he led representatives of his department into the funeral.
Thousands of law enforcement officers representing local, state and county police agencies from numerous states poured onto the field after marching 1.6 miles from the Remick and Gendron Funeral Home where Maloney's wake was held a day earlier. Officers saluted Maloney at length before taking their seats.
Dignitaries in attendance included New Hampshire's congressional delegation, N.H. Gov. John Lynch, N.H. Attorney General Michael Delaney and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Seabrook Police Chaplain Bruce Pierce introduced speakers and gave some opening remarks after Portsmouth Police Detective Kristyn Bernier sang 'God Bless America.'
“We come here today with heavy hearts because of the death of one of (the Lord's) servants, Chief Michael Maloney,” Pierce said.
Holder called Maloney's death a “heartbreaking and tragic loss” for the communities Maloney served during his lifetime.
Maloney, a North Hampton native, joined the Army Reserves before entering law enforcement as a part-time officer in Rye and North Hampton. He worked his way through the ranks to chief of the North Hampton department before Greenland hired him as chief in 2000.
“He discovered a passion for public service that came to shape his life and improved so many other lives,” Holder said. “He wanted to use his skills and his many talents to help people and help communities in need. He wanted to make a difference and he did.”
Holder said that Maloney, who was nearly a week from retirement on the day of the shooting, is known as a hero to people across the country.
Accounts of the shooting indicate Maloney ran out from cover to pull Kukesh off the front porch of Mutrie's home. After seeing that the wounded officers were safe, he then attempted to engage the suspect and suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
“He is indeed a role model and his fearlessness, selflessness and willingness to put his life on the line to protect those around him will never be forgotten,” Holder said. “Let it never be said that he died in vain.”
Lynch, who has led the state through numerous disasters in his four terms as governor, said it was fitting for Maloney's funeral to be on the Winnacunnet Warriors' football field because the area was a community to which he dedicated his life. He said that Maloney will serve as a “shining example” to young people.
“The next generation of Michael Maloneys are here at Winnacunnet,” he said.
Lynch said the sadness surrounding Maloney's death is compounded by the fact that everyone should have been celebrating his retirement.
“There was a job to be done and Michael was not about to let others do his job for him. Greenland was his town. He was charged with protecting it and he was going to see it through until the job was done,” Lynch said. “Protecting others is what brought Chief Maloney to all of us. Sadly it is also what took him away from us.”
The governor provided words of comfort for Maloney's widow, Peg, his children, Michael Jr. and Serena and stepson Ryan, his parents John and Joan, and his 14-month-old grandson, M.J.
“Someday, I know you will truly understand just how special he really is,” Lynch said in comments directed to M.J.
Lynch said this has been a difficult time for the men and women who wear badges in New Hampshire and urged residents to take the time to thank a police officer.
Delaney said Maloney's heroism has humbled and inspired everyone in attendance, adding that he has “shown us what it means to fulfill a law enforcement oath” to protect and serve.
“His example will continue to inspire all men and women in uniform, who are better people and better officers for having known him,” he said.
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte called Maloney “the kind of police chief that every town wants.” She said the state “lost one of its finest sons when we lost Michael Maloney.”
Those who knew Maloney closely from his police work struggled as they reminisced about their lost brother. Greenland Police Detective Dave Kurkel became emotional when he said he hopes he and the chief will meet again some day. “I believe the chief is above us looking down now and protecting us,” he said.
He talked about the bond that grew between his chief and the rest of the department when Maloney was hired.
“He was always close enough to provide help or advice. He had confidence in the ability of his people and a true appreciation for our work,” he said. “He inspired everyone to work even harder for him.”
Kurkel recalled family trips with Maloney to Boston, Foxwoods and North Conway. He said Maloney was there for his officers through both tribulations and everyday life.
“Every trip was an adventure. We always came away with stories we will remember forever,” he said.
Retired Hampton District Court Justice Francis Fraiser recalled meeting Maloney in 1984 and watching him grow from a young officer “wearing a shiny, untarnished badge” to a seasoned veteran familiar with the intricacies of the state's judicial system.
“Michael Maloney, who we called ‘Michael,' ‘Mike,' and, later, ‘chief,' grew up and matured in our presence into a respected friend and leader,” he said.
Retired officer Scot Blanchard preceded Maloney as chief in Greenland. He said he was “so proud to have Mike be the one to replace me as the chief.”
They were close friends and Blanchard would often have Maloney visit his camp in Maine for fishing “marathons” from dawn to dusk.
“Mike's goal was to outfish me. Well, he gave up on that,” Blanchard joked.
He also poked fun at Maloney's golfing ability, saying “Mike could hit a golf ball 300 yards, but you spent a lot of time figuring out where.”
Tim Maloney, the chief's younger brother, said one of his “favorite things to do in the world” was to ride along in his brother's police cruiser. Tim said there were certain rules in place: he was not allowed to touch the lights, turn on the siren, wear a badge or become deputized — but still “it was one of the best shows in town.”
He said that Maloney's “genuine respect for people” allowed him to form a deep connection with the community and to bring an “approachability” to the job that few others possess.
The speakers were followed by ceremonial events, including a “21-gun salute” rifle volley, flyovers by a State Police helicopter, performances by the N.H. Police Association Pipe and Drum players and a rendition of taps.
Hampton American Legion Post 35 bugler and trumpet player Mark Weatherby performed “Echo Taps” with a U.S. Army bugler. He described it as a “call and response” between the two buglers.
Weatherby was a trumpet and bugle player at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. and has played taps for deceased veterans of World War II, Vietnam and the Korean War. He said the feeling of playing for an officer who “put (his) life on the life every day” was similar to playing for soldiers who died in service.
“It's a deep honor to be here today,” he said.
A “last call” for Chief Maloney from the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office provided a haunting end to the ceremony. A radio dispatcher called out Maloney's call number 260 before declaring Maloney “10-2,” the police radio code for deceased.
The funeral was organized by police and was made possible by numerous volunteers. Twenty-five Winnacunnet students from Student Council, National Honor Society and Interact Club served as ushers.
Two criminology students from Portsmouth's Great Bay Community College - Jen Barter of Dover and Kelli Tangen of Somersworth - arrived hours early and offered to wipe down some 5,000 folding chairs that were wet with morning dew.
Barter said she met Maloney once at a testing event. “He didn't have to say much to make a big impression,” she said.
Tim Maloney spoke on behalf of the entire family in thanking the community and those in law enforcement for their support.
“I think he would be deeply touched by the show of support and love from all of you,” he said. “We could not have gotten through this week without you.”
Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Chief Michael Maloney Trust Fund, c/o Optima Bank, 26 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH 03862, or at any of Optima Bank's branches.