WEST NEWBURY — In one of her final times acting in an official capacity, state Rep. Harriett Stanley (D-West Newbury) recognized local police and her Indian Hill Street neighbor for their above and beyond efforts in solving two house break-ins last year — one that occurred in Stanley’s own home.
At a selectmen’s meeting last week, Stanley presented police Chief Lisa Holmes, Sgt. Jeff Durand and officer Royster J. Johnson with three commendations from the state Legislature for excellence in police work that eventually led to the conviction and incarceration of a thief charged with breaking and entering two Indian Hill Street homes in fall 2011. Stanley’s was one of the homes that was robbed.
James Igoe, Stanley’s neighbor, received a community service award for the role he played as a key witness in the investigation. Stanley called the effort of all involved a good example of “making community policing real.”
Following the meeting Holmes said she was “extremely appreciative” when Stanley contacted her several weeks ago about the awards. Noting how devoted her officers were to solving the crimes, Holmes called the recognition for Durand and Johnson “well deserved.”
“I personally know how much time they both committed to this investigation and that they each put in innumerable hours of their own time in order to solve these crimes,” she said. “It was a combination of luck, hard work and perseverance that helped solve these crimes.”
When Holmes was recognized by Stanley and praised for “running the kind of department that encourages this kind of police work,” she deflected the compliment and pointed instead to Johnson and Durand. “It was them,” the police chief said.
When Johnson was called to investigate a breaking and entering crime that had occurred earlier at an Indian Hill Street home, Igoe told him he had observed a vehicle leaving his neighbor’s driveway shortly before the homeowners had returned.