Keene Police Chief’s Shocking Death A Major Loss to Community

Brian Costa

Brian Costa

I was shocked to hear the news on WKBK earlier this week that Brian Costa, Keene’s police chief since 2015, had died in his home one week ago. I was even more surprised to learn he was just 46 years old. Unlike his predecessor, Brian treated me like a human being. He was kind, respectful, and approachable. Surely he and I disagreed on various subjects, but that never stopped him from being willing to work with me where we agreed. The few times I’d interacted with him in his too-short-a-term as police chief, I was impressed with his humanity and professionalism. Though I didn’t know him well, I wish I did.

Years ago when I moved here, as many activists do, I had an axe to grind with the police. The police, as the enforcement arm of the state, were obviously the bad guys. However, as one of the original Cop Blockers, (Badge #5) out in the streets as often as I was, it didn’t take me long to begin connecting with the Keene police as fellow human beings (instead of mindless statist automatons, which is easy for us libertarians to think about police if we don’t know them). The most memorable early paradigm-shifting encounter was my ride-along with KPD’s Shane Maxfield, nearly a decade ago.

At various different activist events in Keene, (the home of Cop Block) I encountered Brian Costa on multiple occasions, who prior to becoming chief was one of KPD’s two captains. However, due to him being a captain, his responsibilities were more management than they were patrol, so our contact was fairly limited at that time.

Meanwhile, Costa’s predecessor as chief, Ken Meola had gone from having breakfast monthly with Sam Dodson and me, to pretending like I didn’t exist for years after the drinking game arrests.

Imagine my pleasant surprise then, when one day shortly after Brian’s appointment as Keene police chief, I was standing out in Central Square, distracted by something on my phone. As I looked up from my device, there he was right in front of me! Brian was dressed in his full Keene police uniform, as any other patrol officer would be. He explained that he’d seen me from his walk downtown and he wanted to introduce himself.

I’ll always remember that about him. I was struck by how humble he appeared. Not only was he not above walking the streets like any other KPD officer, but that he would take time to come over and say hello was really impressive. I was happy to meet him officially and grateful to be treated like a human being by KPD’s chief for the first time in years.

Then, early in 2016, Brian called me out of the blue and asked me for help. There was a bad batch of heroin that had been hitting the streets and leading to overdoses. He had reached out to me as the publisher of Free Keene (Keene’s most popular blog and a Google news source), hoping that I would help get the word out about the bad batch of drugs. Of course I would. Though I’m against the war on drugs and it was Brian’s job to enforce it, we found common ground in the goal of harm reduction. I told him I’d get on it, thanked him for thinking of me, and immediately published this article about the bad dope. When I share goals with someone, despite our differences, I’m willing to work with them to accomplish our common goals. This builds bridges between people on opposite sides of other issues, increasing the likelihood of further communication and a growing mutual respect. Brian understood this, and he earned my respect by being a decent person.

Now, he’s gone from this world, and WAY too soon. Whoever is chosen as his permanent replacement has some BIG shoes to fill. I really wish I could have gotten to know Brian better. I feel like I missed out.

According to the Union Leader:

Calling hours for Costa will be at the Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A police walk-through for all law enforcement officers is planned to start the calling hours at 5 p.m.

Friday’s mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. at St. Bernard’s Church on Main Street. Burial is to be at Mountain View Cemetery.

The family has asked that donations to the Brian C. Costa Memorial Fund for his children be made through the Savings Bank of Walpole, P.O. Box 744, Keene, NH 03431 or any branch location.

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11 Comments

  1. Brian Wirth

    “Then, early in 2016, Brian called me out of the blue and asked me for help. There was a bad batch of heroin that had been hitting the streets and leading to overdoses. He had reached out to me as the publisher of Free Keene (Keene’s most popular blog and a Google news source), hoping that I would help get the word out about the bad batch of drugs. Of course I would. Though I’m against the war on drugs and it was Brian’s job to enforce it, we found common ground in the goal of harm reduction.”

    Maybe it’s just me…. But I get the vibe that while he was surely amicable, he came to you about getting the word out about laced heroin. Now, maybe I am reading too far into it, but wouldn’t that suggest that he assumes that consumers of your media are drug users?? Just a thought.

    Reply
    • Lib

      Like in the greater of society some are and some aren’t. There are both well known drug users in our community in addition to those who don’t partake in recreational drug use. Those of us in this community who count themselves as liberty-minded support the right of those who do. That obviously will draw a certain crowd. It doesn’t mean everybody- or even the majority are drug users. In fact of the most productive activists in Keene today I don’t think any of them utilize drugs routinely- and most don’t use them at all.

  2. Koncerned citizen

    I’m curious Ian, did you show up to the candle light vigil for the fallen officer, and pay your respects at the same time getting the publicity that you crave? Are you going to pay your respects at his wake or funeral? As a true Copblocker that you say you are, don’t you believe that all pigs should be underground? If so then you should be celebrating his dead, no?

    Reply
    • Lib

      You’ve got no understanding of liberty minded “cop blockers”. Nobody is looking to kill cops. We want an end to the states violence and to eliminate the positions which contribute to said violence (police enforcement of unjust laws including theft by government, or commonly referred to by statists as taxes). The principled libertarian that is attracted to Keene is peaceful and against the use of violence, theft, fraud, and coercion (the threat of violence). We want to do away with government policing because it is all these things. You are free to protect yourself, hire someone to protect you, or utilize an app like Cell 411 to alert family, friends, neighbours, and just nearby good samaritans of your need for help. There is no need for senseless violence against peaceful people.

  3. Koncerned citizen

    Sorry, if so then you should be celebrating his death, no?

    Reply
  4. Drac Vermell

    KC darling, it’s unfortunate that the psychological derangements you suffer from have made you completely incapable of appreciating the fact that your rivals here have never once wished death upon their antagonists. I find it absolutely heart-wrenching that those same impairments have made it impossible for you to show any hint of remorse for doing the same to them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wXYSy7R7U

    Reply
  5. Koncerned citizen

    I’m sorry everyone for the confusion, I’m trying to get an answer from the source, not from his minstrels.

    Reply
    • Drac Vermell

      Then perhaps you should ask questions in ways that won’t reveal you as the unrepentant hypocrite you actually are, KC darling. As you should be fully aware of by now, lamb, that sort of behavior will most assuredly elicit critical observations from your rivals, particularly those who have full knowledge of your own past indiscretions.

  6. Jumping Jacks

    Nicely said. RIP

    Reply
  7. Robert Mattison

    He died, I will die to, you will die, what the big deal about death. We have a saving from where I from, the Good Die Young

    Reply
  8. davidinkeene

    someone said he mighta died of roids…but i said he didnt seem that hyper or ragey…but i guess theres gonna be a toxicology report… which the chief forensic investigator wouldnt tell me: DONT THEY KNO WHO I AM …well she took my name bc of i gave it bc she said hers…she was pleasant

    Reply

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