Implement Oversight of all law enforcement agencies in the state of Vermont.
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We call for the immediate civilian oversight of all law enforcement in the state of Vermont.
In September 2015, two Burlington police officers shot James Hemingway, after turning off their body cameras. The Chittenden County Attorney cleared them of any wrongdoing. A no knock warrant resulting in a civilian death in December, 2015 and yet another in March of 2016. All of these incidents are routinely investigated “internally” and by the States Attorney’s offices, with whom they work on a regular basis.
In Rutland, one officer resigned and the second retired after allegations of racial profiling, discrimination, assault and other misconduct. Dozens of other cases involving law enforcement misconduct and excessive use of force have been investigated across the state over the last number of years and with very little exception a high degree of impunity. From the killings of Robert Wooodward and Joseph Fortunati to the abuses of Brian Slutz and Anton Pike, law enforcement has not been held accountable.
Additionally, law enforcement have no de-escalation, appropriate use of force or anti-bias training as components of their mandatory annual in-services training requirements. Law enforcement officers literally have to be convicted of a felony to be decertified in Vermont. Appallingly, police are one profession in the state of Vermont that are not overseen by the Office of Professional Regulation, the agency that oversees over 40 professions.
We deserve reasonable transparency in matters where peace officers use force against civilians. Without it, it is only natural that the public will begin to question police integrity and as a result, their legitimacy. There is nothing more important for law enforcement than transparency and legitimacy, if they hope to effectively uphold their sworn obligation to protect, serve and provide public safety for all.
Please sign this petition for Vermont public safety.
Justice For All
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