The Vermont State Police (VSP) is committed to transparency and to keeping the public informed of law enforcement activities by VSP while also protecting individual privacy, ongoing criminal investigations, and the rights of the accused. To fulfill this important function, VSP utilize a variety of methods to disseminate information to the public including press releases, social media, responses to public information requests, incident reporting, and web based content. This outreach and distribution of information is an important component of the VSP mission and our service to the people of Vermont.
To review the VSP Press Release and Public Information Policy, click below:
The VSP Press Release and Public Information Policy is a set of instructions directed toward VSP department members as guidance for writing press releases and releasing public information. Press releases include information about arrests and citations, reports about homicides and other major criminal investigations, traffic incidents such as crashes and enforcement, and any incident that could have public impact or be of public interest. The policy instructs troopers when to issue press releases and sets the standards for the release of information. Information for release includes the name, hometown and age of the person or persons arrested/cited, the type of charge, details that support the charge, the booking photo (mugshot) of the individual arrested and details of the incident. Weather related emergencies and road closures are also communicated to the public through a press release.
At the same time, the revised policy reasonably balances, on the one hand, the public’s right to know and, on the other hand, the privacy of crime victims, the integrity of criminal investigations and the protection of an offender’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. The VSP work diligently each day to balance these competing interests. Excluded from VSP press releases are names of victims of domestic or sexual abuse, names of witnesses, the identity of juveniles (until such time they are charged in adult criminal court), and any information that may compromise a criminal investigation. Vermont law (see below) requires the protection of personal information that may harm an individual not accused of a crime and the protection of an accused's right to a fair trial. During ongoing criminal investigations Vermont law allows for investigators to delay release of information to protect the integrity of an investigation in the hope of a complete resolution for the families of victims and their communities. If there has been a fatality, whether in the context of a crime, an officer involved shooting, or a traffic incident, the name(s) of the decedent is withheld until family is properly notified. Street addresses, dates-of-birth, social security numbers, and medical information are also protected by VSP policy, and by Vermont law.
All VSP press releases are located at the VSP Press Release blog. The blog is updated in real time and includes the very latest information from VSP activity. Press releases can also be sent directly to your email inbox if you make a request to the VSP PIO via e-mail.
The Vermont State Police employs social media to further engage the public in VSP messaging and activities.
The VSP Facebook page focuses on community policing and community relationships to reinforce our commitment to those we serve. When needed, Facebook is also used to relate important public safety and traffic safety messaging, as well as requests for information that could aid in the investigation of a crime.
The VSP Twitter page shares our press releases, recruiting messages, traffic safety alerts, and other items.
There is also a VSP Recruiting Twitter page, focused on connecting those interested in a career with VSP to important information that could assist them, and provides imagery from recruiting events.
The VSP You Tube Channel focuses on videos promoting the image of VSP, recruiting, and important public safety messages like seatbelt use, cyber-crime, and bike safety. Many of the videos are produced in-house by VSP. This is a growing platform, as we hope to share more stories about VSP with the public.
VERMONT STATE POLICE WEBPAGE
Many questions about the VSP can be answered through the VSP webpage. Agency structure, employment, traffic stop data, fair and impartial policing, unsolved cases, and much more, may be explored on our webpage.
DAILY INCIDENT SUMMARY LOG
A daily incident summary log can be found on the VSP Press Release blog. This log is automatically generated, posted daily, and includes VSP incidents from the previous 24-hour period. The incidents include date, time, nature, officer, street, and town. They are sorted by VSP barracks.
Another site to review VSP incident data is CrimeReports.com . This site collects incident information automatically from the VSP and displays it on a map of Vermont. The data can be filtered by date, incident type, geographic location, and various other options. It also allows for data analytics and downloadable files. Crime Reports can gather broad VSP incident statistics and compile them in a downloadable file through Socrata, and can also create a printable document of your search results for review. Using time filters, VSP data on Crime Reports can be explored through many years. For more information about Crime Reports and its potential uses please visit https://www.crimereports.com/. For frequently asked questions about Crime Reports data, please visit https://www.crimereports.com/agency/vermontstatepolice#!/faq . For a tutorial on the use of CrimeReports.com, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igvp043d7Fs .
STATE of VERMONT PUBLIC RECORDS STATUTE
The Public Records Act was passed into law by the Vermont Legislature to address the need for public access to government information. The statute requires government agencies such as the VSP, upon request, to deliver records to those seeking information.
The statute also establishes exemptions that protect certain information from release. The many reasons for those exemptions include, but are not limited to, protecting victims from unnecessary public exposure and privacy intrusions, protecting the integrity of criminal investigations, protecting personal information of citizens not charged with crimes, protecting a defendant’s right to a fair trial, and protecting various other types of private information from being released. The Vermont public records statute can be found online at: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/01/005/00317
PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
The Public Records Act includes a requirement for a government agency to produce a requested record within a specific period of time. Once a public record request is received by a government agency, the statute requires the agency to either, provide the document within three business days in its entirety, redact the record with a statutory explanation for the redaction, or provide notice of the need for a ten-day extension before providing a response to the request for information. If deemed appropriate, an agency may also deny the records request by citing an applicable statutory exemption. Per statute, the requestor can appeal this decision. For the VSP, an appeal is made directly to the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. The Public Records Act places the onus on the government agency to comply with the request in a practical and responsive manner, always with the public interest and transparency in mind. For more on Public Records Requests please visit: http://vsp.vermont.gov/public/recordrequests
PUBLIC INFORMATION GOAL
VSP is accountable to the citizens of Vermont. This public information process is therefore constructed to broadly inform the public of the activities of the VSP. VSP is committed to public service and engaging citizens in this process. VSP will continually improve this effort and welcomes any feedback. You can reach the VSP Public Information Officer, Scott Waterman, at Scott.Waterman@Vermont.gov .