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
  • 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.