Gov. Scott: ‘They defunded the police, they did that’

In an appearance on “The Morning Drive” radio program Wednesday, Gov. Phil Scott addressed a series of topics ranging from rising crime and homelessness to the results of last week’s primary election.

On the issue of rising crime, especially in the City of Burlington, the governor reminded listeners that City Council voted to reduce the city’s police force by about a third as part of the “defund the police”movement.

“They defunded the police, they did that — the council did that. They determined that was their approach,” Scott said.

state of Vermont/Facebook

Gov. Phil Scott

He contrasted that with the state’s policy, which has not cut funding of the Vermont State Police, yet also is having to manage staffing challenges.

One of the show’s callers expressed concern that more needs to be done — not just having more officers in the field, but also more action in courts to discipline offenders and keep dangerous criminals off the street. Scott shared that caller’s views.

“It’s not just about having boots on the ground, so to speak; we need to be able to prosecute these cases to the prosecution’s capacity and help the courts address their backlog of cases as well. Again, that’s another area of concern,” the governor said.

Another caller expressed frustration that Burlington crime is so bad that the city now requires support from the Vermont State Police. In reply, Scott pointed to a new 10-point plan designed to address these challenges.

“We have to deal with this, this can’t be the new normal,” Scott said. “And as the caller had said, we are impacted as well. The VSP is impacted, we are down on the number of troopers by quite a few.

“We aren’t going to be able to assist in every call, but remember, we are 24/7 365 and we will answer the call when it comes in. And if there’s a community in trouble as we saw in Burlington, and they were pleading for help, we will assist.”

Scott reminded another concerned caller about bills that he’s been vetoing which, he says, would have made the current crime situation even worse.

“There was one that would have erased criminal records including for drug trafficking,” the governor said. “I think at this point in time that was the wrong direction to move in. And another one … they wanted us to determine the legal amounts of all drugs like for recreation including things like heroin. And again, I just think that that’s the wrong direction at this point in time.”

He also urged listeners to be supportive of each officer who has a tough task each day.

“We also need to reflect on that they are helping us, they are part of our public safety net, and they are critical,” he said.

Later in the program the discussion turned to the recent primary election, which had a few surprising results. Scott was asked about Liam Madden, the self-identified independent who won the Republican nomination for Vermont’s open U.S. House seat. Madden beat two conservative GOP candidates who largely split their voter base, allowing Madden to win the most votes in the three-way race.

The governor was critical of Madden.

“He actively pursued the Republican nomination … and I think when you do that you have to question his motives in terms of trying to do away with the two-party system,” Scott said. “I’m a firm believer in the two-party system; I think we need that as part of how we work as a democracy. And so I think it’s a bit counterintuitive in some respects to run on a ticket when your mission is actually to decimate that system that he was a part of.”

When the discussion turned to homelessness, Scott was also asked about a report by State Auditor Doug Hoffer, which had some concerning statistics regarding trends in homelessness across Vermont.

“We have to make sure that when we are putting money into housing, that we don’t forget about transitioning people out of homelessness,” Scott said. “Remember during the pandemic we shut down a lot of those homeless congregate living shelters.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Tony Webster and state of Vermont/Facebook

16 thoughts on “Gov. Scott: ‘They defunded the police, they did that’

  1. Hey, Gov Phil…if you are so morally outraged that in BTV that you say they were the ones who defunded the police….then where is your righteous outrage for your Best-Buddy-Biden. DO YOU HAVE ANY sense of morallity for this country and what YOUR DEM friends are doing to it?? I Guess not. read this Phil:

    “A whopping 4.9 million illegal immigrants have crossed our border since Biden has taken office, a report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) found. The president of FAIR Dan Stein discussed the report, stating that ​​“Roughly the equivalent of the entire population of Ireland has illegally entered the United States in the 18 months President Biden has been in office, with many being released into American communities.”

  2. Here is a quote from a French writer….from 1905! It is worth sums up the Gov and all he rest of the VT legislature:

    ““It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.”

  3. I call balls and strikes with our Gov, and he made a lot of sense on the radio appearance. He stands in marked contrast to his November opponent who talks about the usual “root causes”. Someone’s childhood experiences and victimhoods make no difference to someone when you are staring down the barrel of their gun during a robbery. He is one of the last voices of reason in this present-day progressive hellhole of Vermont, so I like to show a little appreciation. Would any of the other commenters prefer Gov. Molly Gray or Gov. Phil Baruth?

    • Lachapelle makes a valid and accurate point. For now, Scott is virtually the only thing standing between Vermont’s residents and a truly socialist government. Until there is legislative change, accept the status quo or leave the state are the only options. Vermont may never move away from socialism- and may forever follow in California’s shadow- however I’ll bet that the sheer weight of the socialist bureaucracy and spending will bankrupt Vermont within a decade.
      Remember too, that Burlington choose their city council, chose the path the city is on. Until Burlington’s voters choose differently, this is what Chittenden County is stuck with. Actually all of Vermont’s taxpayers pay an additional price for the socialist folly that Burlington has become. Don’t like it? Don’t go there. A migration out of stores and restaurants, business and
      people will soon enough collapse the Burlington tax base. Relying on UVM and UVMMC’s ‘assessment in lieu of taxes won’t cut it for long. We are watching the moral and physical decay of Burlington and it is painful to watch.

  4. Governor Phil Scott, the man who called Vermont citizens “inherently racist” and “homophobic.” Governor Phil Scott who violated our Constitutional rights and civil rights. Governor Phil Scott openly supports installed criminal resident 10% Joe Biden. Governor Phil Scott, a friend of the CCP. Re-elect Phil Scott so he can finish destroying the State of Vermont for his Masters.

    • Gov. Scott has pressure on him to distance himself from the MAGA element of his party. In “progressive” Vermont, ANY level of endorsement of MAGA will result in the centrists turning on him and the result will be very ugly: Gov. Molly Gray…Gov. Phil Baruth…

  5. Just doing his thing, like he does in a race car … positioning himself to stay at the front of the pack, as he goes round and round and never really gets anywhere.

  6. Phil ” RINO ” Scotts is a joke, and all this rhetoric now ……….. it sounds good for November
    campaign add !!

    Wake up people, he’ll suck up to you today, and stab you in the back tomorrow !!

    • ive got few complaints
      he has done somthing about every complaint iv offer many of are about public officials not doing thier job like the police and foia and various other legal matter … you put it on paper and send it to him somthing will get done

  7. Mr. Scott is on the campaign trail now…….dissing his competition, we dont like it
    you changed Phil…..probably to keep your job, either go along with the party line ..and hook and sinker
    and now you want to keep said job….we will see
    “they” is you too, on so many issues that Vermonters are so upset about
    I personally see us needing a 3rd party, so the current 2 can settle their differences without harming all of us “employers” (yes you and every local, state, federal official works and is paid with tax dollars..ours) as has been happening over the past 3, 5, 10 and more years
    this is ridiculous now with the way R and D operate………so much corruption on every level
    party line, party politics…….whether you believe it or not…….
    where is Vermonter Phil Scott?

  8. Simply allow police the ability to “stop and frisk”…and you will see a drop in violent crime. Criminals, thieves, drug dealers, gang members…have NO worry at all walking around BTV armed underneath…because they know a cop can’t do anything to them. But allow stop and frisk?….then that low life criminal will think twice about walking around (or drivng around) BTV…. armed and dangerous:

    “A “stop-and-frisk” refers to a brief detention and search of someone when a police officer reasonably suspects that criminal activity may be afoot. This “reasonable suspicion” standard requires less proof than the probable cause needed for an arrest or search.”

    • you take your stazi idea to some other country

      a cop tries to randomly frisk me and he is going to get his ass kicked

  9. The Irony of Scott calling out Madden for not being a Republican is so far from sincere it is an outright lie. Scott has spit in the face of Real VT Republicans so many times you need a calculator to add them up.
    He openly called 116,000 Vermonters who voted for President Trump ” White Supremacists and Racist. ”
    He has a 100% rating from planned parenthood, he signed H57 which allows abortion up to the moment of Birth. He brags he will vote for Article 22, not only putting abortion anytime, anywhere by anyone into the VT Constitution, but also giving the ” State ” the right to sexually molest every child by physical, chemical and psychological means. It also would criminalize every Parent and Health Care worker that would fight to protect the child.
    Phil Scott is no Republican. But Paul Dame and Tom Koch of the VTGOP protect him.
    Hey Scott, while you are calling out Madden look in the mirror.
    Pull a Jeffords and make it official.

    • i caught the states attorney stealing kids and one message to scott and he had him taken from office before the week was out

      the actual story is long

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