A Call For Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement
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A Call For Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement in Vermont
It is imperative that civilian oversight be implemented to ensure appropriate law enforcement transparency and accountability. History has taught us that in the absence of law enforcement transparency and accountability the general public has more times than not questioned law enforcement legitimacy. We have all witnessed numerous instances where the resulting loss of public trust has stood as an obstacle to the crucial working relationship required between law enforcement and the community.
Click here to read more on the problem in Vermont
We call on the Governor to remove Nancy Sheahan from the State Police Advisory Commission.
We call on the legislature to:
- Conduct public hearings to address civilian oversight of law enforcement, and
- Remove the Attorney General from the Vermont Criminal Justice Council
- Legislate remedies for violation of the implementation of Fair and Impartial Policing Policy and Implicit Bias Training
We call on the Attorney General (upon removal from the Council) to investigate and enforce compliance with implementation of Fair and Impartial Policing Policy and Implicit Bias Training.
Go here to learn more about these demands and read your call to action.
*Below is the petition as originally submitted three years ago*
In September 2015, two Burlington police officers shot James Hemingway, after turning off their body cameras. The Chittenden County States 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.
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