Law enforcement officials call for changes to bail-reform law

Law enforcement officials call for changes to bail-reform law

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Police and prosecutors are seeking sweeping changes to the state's six-month-old bail reform law, but the new Senate majority leader said any problems with the law aren't the Legislature's fault.

New Hampshire lawmakers approved a bail-reform law last session. Law enforcement officials said the case of Mark Dennis in Keene shows the problems they say the law introduced.

In November, when Dennis was out on personal recognizance bail from a previous arrest, he stabbed a man, police said. Even though he was charged with being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon and second-degree assault -- and had clearly violated his original bail conditions -- he was once again released under the new law 12 hours later.

"People just seem to be revolving right in and out," said Chief Andrew Shagoury of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police. "Bedford's chief talked about cases where people assaulted police officers, and they're released on personal recognizance bail before the officer can change their uniform from the one that got ruined in the fight."

Police and prosecutors testified Tuesday about several instances of potentially dangerous offenders being arrested and rotated in and out of jail.

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