April 7, 2011

Community loses a friendly face and dedicated officer

Union Leader Correspondent
ATKINSON -- Dale Childs had a way with everyone and a limitless knowledge of the town where she had spent most of her adult life. Her passing April 2 marks the end of an era, not just in Hampstead, where she most recently served as a police officer and juvenile officer, but in neighboring towns where her tireless efforts in police and community work touched so many lives.
“Dale was well respected by all the residents of this town,” said Atkinson police Chief Philip Cosentino, who worked with Childs for many years while she was employed by the police department as a juvenile officer and animal control officer. “And she had a real knack for working
 with kids. We haven’t found anyone quite like Dale since she left. She was so straightforward. She solved a lot of cases and had such compassion.”
Childs, 66, died after a lengthy battle with cancer, said her husband,
 Fred Childs, who serves on the Atkinson Board of Selectmen.

“She put on a brave face, but she was in pain for many years and she just couldn’t take it anymore, which is when she started getting treatment,” said her husband. Her cancer diagnosis came six months ago.
“We had a little hope after the chemo, which shrunk the tumors a little, but they had given her six months, and that’s how long it took,” Childs said.
It is the lasting imprint
 of Childs has left behind that those who knew and loved her will cherish.“She really cared about the job, and she most certainly cared about our people in the town of Hampstead,” said Hampstead police Chief Joseph Beaudoin Jr.
Childs, a 24-year employee of Hampstead Police Department, was well-known in Hampstead schools. She represented the police department on a school crisis team and helped organize Project Respect, a two-day school seminar that tackled issues related to respect of other people, Beaudoin said.
She was also a board member of Family Mediation and Juvenile Services and the Community Alliance for Teen Safety, and was the past president and secretary of the Hampstead Police Association.
“She was a very, very wellrespected member of the department, and it’s a great loss,” Beaudoin said. “When someone had a problem it became her problem. She was always there for us.”
Filling her shoes won’t be easy, Beaudoin admitted. The town will rely on its assistant animal control officer until
 selectmen decide what to do about the vacancy.
Marlene Bishop, Childs’ animal control counterpart for the Town of Derry, said Childs was always a good partner in the animal control world.
“Dale was always right there if you needed her for anything, and vice versa,” Bishop said. “She was one tough cookie. You couldn’t pull the wool over Dale’s eyes — she could see right through anybody. A lot of people regarded her as intimidating, but that was her job. It’s not an easy job to do.”
Bishop said over the years the two collaborated on cases, including the time some horses got loose and headed out to Interstate 93.
“The last time we worked together was last summer, when someone left a dog inside a car in Derry. She happened to be heading into a building in town and saw the dog and let us know about it,” Bishop said.
Childs served on the Atkinson town Building Needs Committee and was a member of the Budget Committee, the Highway Safety Committee and the Dispatch Committee. She also served as a cemetery trustee and a trustee of the trust funds in town.
Childs was a founding member of the Hampstead Schools Crisis Team and pastpresident and secretary of the Hampstead Police Association.
Consentino said he had the opportunity to spend some time with Childs just a week before she died.
“She was sitting on the couch with her husband, talking, and reading something she had in her hand, and then he went into kitchen and got on cell phone to field a call. I said, ‘Damn, Dale — I don’t believe how good you look.’ I was afraid to visit, knowing how sick she was, but she seemed to be doing so well,” Consentino said.

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