Guv’s plan would centralize police hiring, training, use of force under state control

By Guy Page

The Vermont Department of Public Safety wants public feedback on its plan to “modernize policing across Vermont” by centralizing under state control policies for diversity hiring, policies for use of force and body cameras, banning invasive surveillance, and more.

If enacted, the plan would centralize at the state level many hiring, training and policy-making powers now exercised at the local level of Vermont police agencies.

Gov. Phil Scott’s Public Safety Reform Initiative, created through Executive Order 03-20, directs the commissioner of public safety to “actively engage with communities, particularly those communities that have been historically marginalized or harmed by policing, as we develop and deploy best policing practices.” Additional details on the earlier 2020 modernization strategy and original 10-point plan are also available at https://dps.vermont.gov/modernization.

Vermont Daily noted at the Nov. 27 press conference that the plan “seems as much about concentration of policing authority as it is modernization of policing methods.” In response, Public Safety Commissoner Michael Schirling, the plan’s architect, defended the need for statewide policing standards and practices.

“We’ve reached a point where disparity of operation [for gatherng information, use of force, etc.] is not the way the public expects for things to function,” Schirling said.

“We have years of studies … they all say the same thing,” Schirling said. “Duplication and having that kind of variation is not the way to run these kinds of operations.”

A Sept. 9 Vermont Daily report shows the Public Safety Reform Initiative includes:

  • New hiring and promotion systems of police and police executives in  “all law enforcement agencies statewide.”
  • Hiring practices that promote diversity
  • Statewide police dispatch and data computer system, standardized and mandatory for all agencies, to make use of force, traffic stops, arrests, mental health and other data
  • Statewide model policy on body worn cameras for all law enforcement agencies and officers
  • Statewide model policy on police use of force, including when and how military equipment may be used. This policy would ban “invasive surveillance technologies, advanced autonomous weaponry, facial recognition software or predictive policing technologies….failure to adopt the statewide model use of force policy shall result in limitations on state funding and access to training for the agency”
  • Updated statewide training, schedules and methods
  • Civilian or non-agency investigators to investigate allegations of improper conduct.

Members of the public who would like to provide comments may do so by visiting https://dps.vermont.gov/modernization. Alternatively, they may email comments to policing.feedback@vermont.gov.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of St. Albans Police Department
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10 thoughts on “Guv’s plan would centralize police hiring, training, use of force under state control

  1. Any time “hire diverse candidates” is a part of a plan, I have a hard time reading the rest. Constantly identifying skin color as preferential for a job is the most divisive and illegal practice going. Schools, cops, towns, politics, etc are all on board of this diversity bus and it has one major mechanical issue that won’t allow it to run properly or efficiently: you’re not hiring the BEST candidate, just the blackest. Who doesn’t want the best working with their kids or community? Obviously everyone. When one cop isn’t as good but is black, he or she will be hired over a better white candidate. This is illegal but ignored as such. Just go with the best, black, white, yellow, orange, green……I’m pretty sure most people don’t care what color their cop is, they simply want the BEST option to keep them and their communities safe.

  2. Bad Idea. State police know something, but not intimate with anything like ‘their community”.
    Not available to do community patrols, just responses.
    Why not Interpol, make it a world wide police force, no!
    Let the FBI do local policing< NO

    Let the towns, cities and counties arrange the own policing that meets local needs. Seems simple.
    State Police have the broad reach and coordinate with locals

  3. We elect our County Sheriff – he works for and answers to us, not the State.

    How does the State get to dictate hiring and promotion practices for a Sheriff’s Department that has to fund themselves?

    • Frank, The Sheriff’s are paid by the state not the county. We do not have county government, we have centralized government which is the source for all things good and bad. Nothing will change in Vermont due to this arrangement. County government is close to the citizen. Vermont is a monolith of centralized political power.

      • In fact, the Sheriff’s work for the state and receive state benefits. They have limited wiggle room to defy the state power as in a fella named TJ. It would take all 14 Sheriff’s to agree before any of them rebel. We elect them but they work for the state. They are constitutional officers but as we are finding out, our constitution means very little to those in power.

        • Only the Sheriff and 25 deputies (across all 14 Counties) responsible for prisoner transport receive pay & benefits from the State.

          The Sheriff contracts with Towns to provide coverage – apparently that means they’re working for those Towns.

          They’re also funded by federal grants, and Counties do provide support material and administrative support.

          • This is all true but the sheriff himself is responsible for the actions of his dept. The political buck stops with him. Surely you must know how all that work’s by now. There are good sheriffs and the others. This is the real world. I;m not trying to disagree with you but reality is what it is, not what the books say it is.

          • My comment should have said his/her and later him/her as sheriffs. I did not mean to intentionally leave the other gender out. And I know that some people think there are more genders but I don’t need to get into that issue here.

  4. And why is this a top priority?

    My conscience is clear, so glad I was able to vote this November 3rd.

    It’s pretty easy to make standards and people follow them. Seems it’s even easier to control everything on the state level….

    Where are those whom defend our constitution? Where are those that might speak out against what is becoming more clear by the day voter fraud? Is anyone asking for investigation? Anyone?

    If you were given authority to represent the people in our constitutional republic and you don’t even say a work while people run ruff shod over laws, rules, etc….

    What does that make you? It is unbelievably sad nobody is speaking up. This is one of the very free places where people can comment and speak up within out state. Nothing. NOTHING….

    Is anybody out there? (sung to pink floyd)

    • So a store is robbed. People flee the scene, many people see it happen. They see the car, they see the weapons, they see the cash falling out of bags, they see them stealing the cash registers.

      The people on the street say nothing. The people do not report anything to the police. When asked publicly their opinion and what they saw, they say nothing.

      A couple people stand up an say something.

      The media interviews many people who say they didn’t see anything, they can’t be sure the people weren’t servicing the cash registers. The people could have been a fast currier company for the bank.

      This is happening all to often.

      EB-5 Anyone?
      Voter Fraud?
      Medical Fraud?
      General pilfering of the tax payer’s pocket?

      In this scenario there were “police” aka “public officials” sworn to defend the laws of our state and country. Do we hear any of their voices? Any? Any?

      There is a deafening silence from those in Montpelier……those who are quiet, they may not be driving the getaway car, but they surely are making it very easy for crimes to take place.

      Where are your voices? You can comment on this site, openly and freely, one of the very few if not only place in Vermont.

      Is there anybody out there?

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