Special police committee to examine ticket data based on race and gender

Burlington Police Department

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: A special committee formed to review police tactics wants data on ticketing and a new survey on public perception.

BURLINGTON — A special committee formed in response to a couple of controversial use-of-force incidents is now initiating demographic data collection on the Burlington Police Department’s ticketing record.

The 14-member committee — which includes city councilors, police commission members, a representative from the mayor’s office, and social justice activists — intends to focus on race and gender data to spot potential bias among police officers.

According to the minutes from an Oct. 29 meeting, a data request made to BPD sought a “breakdown by gender and race of suspect of tickets and fines issued over the last five years.” The request

Committee members are interested in civil tickets, not parking tickets, as well as how much money has been generated for Burlington.

The minutes also indicate the committee wants to know more about how the public views the police.

As for public perception, the committee aims “to hire a consultant to develop a survey to understand the perceptions of officers in BPD, the perception of members of the community, and to move forward with listening sessions.”

Randall Harp, committee member and member of the police commission, declined to get into specifics regarding this process.

“As for what’s expected to be accomplished, I would again not want to go beyond the resolution which established the formation of the committee. I expect the committee to make policy recommendations to the City Council with respect to Burlington Police Department policies,” he told True North in an email.

Jordan Redell, chief of staff for Mayor Miro Weinberger, is also a committee member. In an email, she responded about the data collection.

“The committee requested data from the Burlington Police Department regarding ticketing. That data has not yet been presented to the committee,” she wrote. “The committee discussed potential surveys, but no decisions have been made as of yet.”

City Councilor Max Tracy, P-Ward 2, is not on the committee, but he did note in a call that the original purpose of the committee was to focus on use-of-force incidents.

“As part of the resolution [creating the committee], our request specifically was for data around use-of-force from the department,” he said. “So I think it’s crucial for us to get that information out there and understand what is going on, and I certainly welcome multiple perspectives on what’s going on when we do that information.”

RELATED: City councilor: Burlington’s use-of-force policy ‘pretty strong’ in protecting the public

John Klar, a Republican candidate for governor, spoke about the misuse of arrest and ticketing data at a public meeting on policing at Vermont Law School last week. He said it’s not fair for Vermont leaders to accuse police of racism based on the ticketing and arrest statistics.

He added that police are not getting a chance to defend themselves.

“I would like to hear from our state police because they’ve been put in the middle,” Klar said.

As an example, he notes that in the traffic stops there may be a disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics who are arrested because of the illicit drugs that enter Vermont coming from traffickers who are based in large cities outside of the state.

“And our attorney general has said that our police and our judicial system is implicitly racist,” Klar said. “It’s not about race, it’s about an urban culture. It has nothing to do with race.

“[It] seems like they are resisting doing a study about the origin of the black and Hispanic inmates in our prisons.”

When the Burlington City Council voted to create the special committee last summer, the goal was to examine the police department’s use-of-force policy in the wake of two lawsuits filed against the city in May alleging police brutality.

Mabior Jok and Congolese immigrant Jérémie Meli, two black men, were both arrested during altercations which occurred on Sept. 8-9 of 2018. While the charges stemming from both arrests were dropped, police bodycam footage showed some use-of-force by the officers that sparked a debate over the protocols that police are currently using for such public encounters.

The committee meets again Nov. 12 at Burlington City Hall. It is open to the public.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/KevinB and Burlington Police Department

11 thoughts on “Special police committee to examine ticket data based on race and gender

  1. Let’s keep looking until we can find something is the purpose of this nonsense. First it was arrests, then car stops, then searches, now what? Sorry but your clams of Vermont police being racist are false.

  2. Officers enforcing the law are and should be color blind. If one violates the law one should be held responsible. Color and ethenticity should not be a factor. If the research suggests otherwise, my guess is that the facts speak for themselves.

  3. Should tickets, and court sentences, be on a “Quota Basis’?

    If 5 black persons get tickets, then 50 white people must rounded up to get tickets ?!?!

    What am I missing?

    • It’s pretty obvious the leftist fascist don’t get the meaning of the “scales of justice”. It has
      nothing to do with even stevens in law enforcement per race. This is the same stupidity
      the left use against stop and frisk, they want guns of the street but not when its 8to1 colored to whitey..

    • And gender too! So they’ll have arrest 90% more women, I’m not sure hoe many pansexual, gender fluid, gender non conformig arrests that will equate to. Every body has to be arrested in the same proportion, isn’t that how,the scales of justice are supposed to work?

      They will focus on only one skewed demographic. The socialists, and new world wanna be’s want to create cover for the drug dealers to enter our state unfetted, this is part of their plan.

  4. This 15-member committee — which includes “city councilors “, police commission members, a representative from the mayor’s office, and ” social justice activists ” intends to” focus ” on race
    and gender data to spot potential bias among police officer………Yeah !!

    The from what I see the majority in this political ” gaggle ” already has the police between a rock
    and a hard place ” Liberals and their agenda ” and if the councilor that wanted to remove firearms from the police, if she’s on this ” committee ” then it’s already tainted.

    I don’t have a law enforcement background, but I have lived in Burlington over sixty years and
    from what I see this day and age, you have a high-end automobile ” BMW, M-Benz” driving around
    blackened windows NJ, NY plates mostly, driving around the same street I’m pretty sure they are not up here going to UVM for a Medical degree or shopping for Maple syrup and they just happen
    to be of ” color ” when they get busted is this profiling ?? Well, if it looks like a skunk, smells like a skunk it’s probably a skunk.

    Am I being Racist ??………..Nah, I just know what I see, scum from the Big Cities peddling their goods………..Welcome to Burlington.

  5. I think this has already been done when Police stops were examined to try and reveal Bias policing.. No bias was found…

    Maybe we should save the money wasted on this, and use it to to help make this state more business friendly!! Dah!

    • Oh you didn’t get the memo, we are the now the farm team for socialism and communism. No more dairy farms, we are recruiting people from all over the country to join in equal misery the socialist utopia, promised by our great leader who won’t even live by his own tax plan after talking for 30 years we need to tax the rich.

      No more democrats are allowed in the state, only those who tow the line for socialism. Progressivism, communism, NWO, but then I repeat myself.

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