Local government

Bennington public safety summit Monday

Local leaders and community stakeholders in Bennington will meet next week with an array of representatives from state government to discuss approaches for reducing violence and harm in the community.

This first-of-its-kind summit, a daylong event scheduled for Monday, March 20, at Bennington College, is rooted in Gov. Phil Scott’s 10-Point Public Safety Enhancement & Violence Reduction Action Plan and will include representatives from more than 25 agencies, departments and organizations.

“The number one goal of state government is to ensure public safety and public health,” Gov. Scott said. “By bringing together local leaders and state government in a new, open and collaborative way, starting in Bennington, we can enhance our collective ability to innovate, create new approaches to address problems, and work together to strengthen our communities.”

This summit follows the model of Vermont’s nation-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic, when the whole of state government worked synergistically across agencies and with local communities. The goal of the Bennington summit is to identify action items that will begin to address gaps and increase leadership connections to better coordinate public safety and public health efforts in the region. The structure developed at the summit will be new and inclusive, built on the VISION model created in 2013 in Rutland.

“We are looking forward to building on the work already underway in Bennington focused on addressing gaps in services that, if improved, will enhance public safety and public health,” said Jennifer Morrison, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Safety. “This is not about enforcing our way out of violent crime or drug use. This is a multifaceted effort that combines public health, public safety, education and other strategies to reduce violence and harm in the community.”

Among the attendees at the invitation-only summit are representatives from Gov. Scott’s Office; the Department of Public Safety; the Agency of Human Services, including the Department of Health and the Department for Children and Families; the town of Bennington; United Counseling Service; Bennington Hospital; the Bennington Police Department; and community stakeholders.

“Bringing people together to find solutions to shared safety issues is vital in building healthy and sustainable communities,” Agency of Human Services Secretary Jenney Samuelson said. “We must create coalitions of caring adults to support those in need — especially children, who do not have an official voice at the table without those advocates. We want to be a partner in providing safe and healthy housing, which is a prerequisite to community stability.”

Categories: Local government

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  1. Bennington went from a relatively safe & quaint area with the main street busy with restaurants & retailers to a mostly desolate downtown & a crime rate that has skyrocketed right in line with the area’s drug addiction levels. Housing values plummeted & much of Old Bennington’s old money – left the area.

    The TRUE causes? As aforementioned, the rampant drug use & abuse which the THREE independent addiction treatment centers CANNOT alter one iota – coupled with the PERMANENT fixture of “Shires Housing” which has been building & “rehabing” LOW-INCOME housing for YEARS now in Southern, VT. Has it put a dent in the unending “need” for yet more low-income housing yet? Nope. But that’s a great thing, as the well-salaried employees who work Full Time for the organization would be at the local unemployment office should such an unrealistic goal ever be reached. And lastly, a fully “woke” selectboard who decided that reciting our Pledge of Allegiance before a public meeting was suddenly (get ready for it) “offensive” – merely contributed to these issues & still does. Tourism in Bennington is: G-O-N-E…..in the event one couldn’t have guessed.

    The FAKE causes of Bennington’s rapid deterioration? Why, the “police”, but of course!! The courageous men & women of the Bennington Police Department under the PHENOMENAL oversight of Chief Paul Doucette, Jr. – the department has always handled themselves professionally, protected the citizenry from the ruthless criminals chronically invading once peaceful VT, and managed to do all this & more whilst being simultaneously & severely criticized by the very residents they protect & serve so that the woke anti-law enforcement mob could be appeased – in a manner quite similar to prehistoric peoples who once offered up human sacrifices to the false gods of their own era.

    While many may hope to see a Bennington revival come to pass from this “summit”, my guess is that in true, BLUE Vermont fashion, yet MORE addiction centers, low-income housing & police oversight recommendations shall fill the day, and poor Bennington, a border town which once beckoned & welcomed visitors, retirees, and tourists from near and far will remain its drab, distressful, and depressed self while standing proudly as a beacon for wokeness, political propaganda, extremism, and socialist “equity”.

    Good luck on Monday.

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