- Remove police officers from the Montpelier school system.
- Permanently reduce the number of police officers immediately, starting with those who have used excessive force, such as the officer who fatally shot Mark Johnson in Montpelier last summer.
- Pass a resolution banning the procurement of military equipment and surveillance technology.
- Disarm the police.
- Divert funding from the disproportionately large police budget into the under-funded, volunteer-based Montpelier Community Justice Center.
- Arrange for budget shortfall resulting from COVID-19 to come exclusively out of the police budget, as not to disrupt other services that the city provides.
- Police unions keep officers from facing consequences. Decertify and disband the police union and do not enter into any further collective bargaining agreements with organizations that represent the police.
- Work toward creating new structures of justice, emergency response, and conflict resolution with the ultimate goal of abolishing the police.
- Vision: The vision of the Montpelier Police Department is to provide exemplary police service to the residents, workers, and visitors of Montpelier in order to provide a safe and healthy environment.
- Mission: The Montpelier Police Department, in partnership with the community, is committed to the preservation of peace, prevention of crime, enforcement of the law, protection of individual rights, and serving all with dignity and respect.
- Core Values: Integrity; Courage; Fairness; Knowledge; Compassion; Professionalism
Pillar One: Trust and LegitimacyThe MPD remains committed to supporting addiction reduction/recovery by implementing Project Safe Catch, a joint project between the MPD and Central Vermont Substance Abuse Services, Washington County Mental Health, Central Vermont Addiction Medicine, and the Emergency Department at the Central Vermont Medical Center. The core goal of Project Safe Catch is to connect addicts with the support they need. The MPD supports the Community Justice Center, working with victims and ensuring their well-being, while also promoting a restorative justice framework for our community. MPD are state leaders in the implementation of Act 80 and Team Two Mental Health efforts. Since 2004, Act 80 has provided training for law enforcement that focuses on preparing officers for assisting those in a mental health crisis. The MPD was the first department in Vermont to achieve 100 percent Act 80 training. Team Two is a collaborative training between law enforcement and mental health crisis responders to prepare police officers and mental health professionals to work together in crisis situations at the street level. The City of Montpelier pioneered this training with Washington County Mental Health and created a national model for this type of partnership.
Pillar Two: Policy and OversightThe City of Montpelier is currently placing all police department policies online and available for instant review by the public. MPD officers train on up-to-date policies on Fair and Impartial Policing, Response to Resistance (Use of Force), and mental health crisis response, among others Records of citizen complaints and commendations of officers are available at City Hall and at the police department. All MPD supervisors receive specialized training on policy supervision and leadership, including formalized training in conducting internal audit complaints.
Pillar Three: Technology and Social MediaThe MPD maintains and regularly updates its Facebook page providing important information to the public beyond formal press releases. Full police logs are made available weekly. The MPD fully complies with race data reporting requirements.
Pillar Four: Community PolicingThe MPD encourages open discussion of problems and concerns from residents and strives to implement possible solutions. The MPD believes in its partnership with schools with an effective SRO program, and focuses on a holistic approach to child well-being while helping the school prepare for school safety disasters using the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training methodology. The MPD has also been very active in hosting and participating in community events, such as Coffee with a Cop. MPD officers work directly with our area’s homeless populations to provide resources and develop a positive rapport with them. MPD operates a Bike Patrol program, getting officers out of cars and into the community.
Pillar Five: Training and EducationMPD officers go through an annual use-of-force and de-escalation training, and firmly believe these issues go hand-in-hand. MPD officers are given training in implicit bias and cultural competency Officers may receive specialized training and conferences (for example, trainings focused on preventing child sexual abuse, special investigations, leadership and supervision, risk management for law enforcement, crisis/hostage negotiation training, school safety, etc.). Officers receive first aid training that includes the use of NARCAN, AEDs, CPR, and Advanced First Aid. The city provides opportunities for college tuition reimbursement for our officers, allowing them to expand their education.
Pillar Six: Officer and Dispatcher WellnessThe MPD has created a working relationship with two psychologists to provide support for officers on issues such as compounded trauma and PTSD. The MPD has implemented a peer support program for volunteers for both police and dispatch. Annual PT test with incentive, to try to ensure both mental and physical fitness for duty. The MPD’s budget is proportionate to other Montpelier departments, such as DPW and the Fire/EMS. Much of the budget goes to personnel, which not only includes officers, but also support staff and the dispatch center that serves police, fire and EMS services throughout the county.
Budget Breakdown89 percent of police budget funds are allocated to personnel costs. MPD has 17 full-time police officers, and almost 8 Dispatchers (some are part time). One administrative staff person is shared with the Fire Department. The 17 officers include the Chief, the Captain, the School Resource Officer, and Two Detectives. This leaves 12 sergeants, corporals and patrol officers to cover 24 hours of shifts, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. During most times only 2–4 officers are on duty. Only 11 percent of the police’s budget goes to operating costs. Vehicles and other equipment are included in the city’s equipment budget and balanced against all equipment needs for all departments. There is no specific police equipment allocation. Other relevant budget items include:
- The City Council provided $33,750 for FY21, in part to expand a Street Outreach Position, which is a peer support worker for our homeless population.
- The MPD budget includes the addition of a WCMHS social worker who will be shared between the City of Barre’s police department and the MPD.
- The City Council approved $10,000 for the Social & Economic Justice Advisory Committee to hire a consultant to assist the city in reviewing its overall policies and procedures for unintended bias and other unintended negative impacts.