On July 13, 2017, the Rutland NAACP hosted the Vermont Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs, Captain Ingrid Jonas; Rutland Police Chief, Brian Kilcullen; and a second member of the Fair and Impartial Police Committee (my apologies for failing to catch his name!).
Background: A recent study found that Vermont police unfairly target minorities http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2017/01/09/study-vermont-police-stop-data-show-racial-disparities/96345458/ and Vermont ranks highest in the nation at a rate of 1 in 14 African American males in State Prison http://justiceforallvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/The-Color-of-Justice-Racial-and-Ethnic-Disparity-in-State-Prisons-1.pdf
Discussion Topics at the July 13 meeting:
- De-escalation training
- Local police have mandatory training on responding to calls involving individuals with possible mental health issues
- Rutland police department has a staff member (40 hours a week + on-call) specifically assigned to responding to calls involving individuals with possible mental health issues
- Rutland police department has a goal of providing enhanced training with regard to mental health issues to ~10% of officers to ensure that there will always be at least on person on duty with the appropriate training
- Here’s a related article: http://digital.vpr.net/post/vermonts-mental-health-crisis-training-police-working#stream/0
- And another related article: http://www.apmreports.org/story/2017/05/05/police-de-escalation-training
- Recording interaction with the public
- Use of dashboard cameras and voice recorders (worn by the officer) are mandatory. The dash cams are turned on automatically when the lights are engaged on a police vehicle.
- Body cameras are not yet available.
- The records are kept for a significant period of time.
- The Fair and Impartial Policing Committee meets every quarter in Burlington. The meeting is open to the public and is publicly posted.
- Training for new recruits in Fair and Impartial Policing
- The basic training course is five hours; however, this training is also built into the other basic training modules, so it’s really more than five hours.
- Post-basic training includes additional hours and the viewing of films such as the documentary 13th
- Next steps
- The committee is liaising with the Pride Center (http://www.pridecentervt.org/) to educate officers in tolerance and the use of appropriate language when interacting with the LGBTQ community to facilitate community welfare.