BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – After nearly a year of research, the Vermont Interfaith Action group is publishing a guide titled ‘Community Engagement with Local Police Departments.’
Their goal was to create a resource for people to learn about police training and accountability, among other subjects.
“We interviewed police chiefs, members of the legislature, members of state government,” explained Nina Regan, a member of VIA.
The guide includes questions people can and should bring to their local departments such as ‘how can complaints against specific officers be submitted?’ and ‘What behaviors trigger disciplinary actions?’
They hope congregations that are part of VIA and others can use it as a tool to combat racism.
“It’s a complex, deep, highly emotional issue for many many people,” said Eric Picard, another member of VIA. “Our hope and goal is to make progress toward having communities that are safer and fairer for all.”
Winooski Police Chief Rick Herbert was involved in the creation of this guide. He shared his thoughts at Wednesday’s presentation of VIA’s findings.
“I do feel it gives people an outline on how to start these conversations with law enforcement and the residents in these communities,” Herbert said. “Also an understanding of the work being done on things like operational expectations.”
By creating this guide, VIA says they hope it will help people enjoy the world as God intended.
“I hope communities recognize that there is a way to increase dialogue with their police department in a very productive way,” Regan said. “But for police departments to better understand what Vermonters want and need of their police.”
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