WATERBURY, Vt. (Wednesday, June 23, 2021) — The Vermont Department of Public Safety today released the following statement on a matter investigated by the state Human Rights Commission (HRC):
The Department of Public Safety is aware of the report and findings by the Vermont Human Rights Commission regarding Vermont State Police responses to a property in Charlotte from September 2017 to December 2017. While we respect the Commission and its important work, we disagree with its findings in this case and believe they are unsupported by the facts.
The Department takes allegations of law enforcement misconduct seriously, and we do not hesitate to hold staff members accountable for their conduct. While not every response is perfect, and we strive to learn and evolve with each event we handle, we are confident that the services provided by our staff in these cases were professional and appropriate. The Department strongly believes that the involved troopers did not discriminate on any basis in the provision of law enforcement services. After the HRC rendered its findings, Commissioner Schirling contacted the Chair of the Human Rights Commission to express concern and disagreement with the final result of the investigative process and the legal conclusions in this case. Additionally, he expressed concern that the case remained unpublished, despite the fact that the decision was critical of VSP.
We fully support the rights of any Vermonter, particularly those in historically marginalized communities, to raise concerns about perceived and actual discrimination. We are committed to thorough, fair and objective reviews of those complaints when they occur, and we support individuals bringing forward these complaints to the HRC. Although we disagree with the findings of the HRC in this case, we do not diminish the concerns or perceptions of the complainant.
The Vermont State Police has long been recognized as one of the nation’s leaders in fair and impartial policing, becoming the first statewide law-enforcement agency in the country to establish an Office of Fair & Impartial Policing and Community Affairs and a FIP Committee in 2009. The mission and goals of VSP’s fair and impartial policing initiative include robust data collection regarding race and traffic stops; providing training to troopers regarding implicit bias; diversifying the membership of VSP; establishing relationships with traditionally marginalized communities; and numerous additional steps. Above all, the Vermont State Police remains committed to the principles of fairness and equity, and to being a leader in fighting all forms of discrimination. Full details about VSP’s fair and impartial policing office and committee can be found at this link.
In the interest of illuminating all the facts in this matter, the Department is releasing all public information related to the underlying incidents in this case. Only confidential personal identifying information such as dates of birth, witness names, and addresses, a few lines of information that prosecutors considered work product, and two cases placed under seal by the Court, have been redacted. A sealed record indicates that criminal charges were brought and resolved but subsequently sealed and, by statute, shielded from public view by Court order. It appears there is no mechanism to unseal these records at this stage. Documents can be found at the following links:
For further reference, a report detailing VSP internal investigations and discipline can be found at https://bit.ly/3gvLlv3 or https://bit.ly/3xraSey.