State Government

DMV, game wardens, liquor control to take stronger law enforcement role

DMV Law Enforcement vehicles may be seen patrolling state highways more often, under a new multi-agency plan

Drivers can expect a stronger law enforcement presence by the Department of Motor Vehicles on the state’s highways. That’s one outcome of a State of Vermont plan to better utilize existing law enforcement human resources to fight the state’s growing rate of crime and highway fatalities.

In response to the statewide police shortage and the increase in crime and traffic deaths, state agencies and departments with law-enforcement responsibilities are taking new steps to maximize response capacity.

The departments of Public Safety, Fish and Wildlife, Liquor and Lottery, and Motor Vehicles are strengthening existing enforcement-focused partnerships and improving day-to-day coordination and operational efficiency to focus on addressing violent crime and preventing fatal crashes on Vermont’s roads, a Dept. of Public Safety spokesperson said today.

The four departmental law-enforcement agencies are the Vermont State Police; the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Warden Service Division; Department of Liquor and Lottery’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement; and the Enforcement and Safety Division of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Although each law-enforcement agency wears a different uniform and reports through a different chain of command, public safety officials remind Vermonters that they all have the same statutory authority to enforce the laws of Vermont throughout the state.

Strengthening the partnership between state law-enforcement agencies allows each agency to better share intelligence, data and resources in service of the state’s public safety priorities.  The stepped-up state-level collaboration is in addition to increased coordination with federal law enforcement partners and part of Gov. Phil Scott’s 10-point public safety enhancement and violence prevention action plan

“Like every sector, as the state’s population continues to age and the workforce gets smaller, many state and local law-enforcement agencies across Vermont face hiring and retention challenges,” Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison said. “At the same time, there are increases in criminal activity that need to be addressed, and this is going to require creative solutions and coordination that optimizes our operational capacity.”

More ongoing coordination between agencies

To ensure ongoing coordination and a nimble response to public safety needs statewide, Governor Scott has directed department leaders to meet weekly to coordinate operations, develop specific metrics for measuring the impact of changes, and to adjust, as needed, to prioritize efforts and respond to conditions on the ground.

“I’ve asked the departments to find more ways to coordinate law-enforcement efforts and strengthen the state’s data-driven, intelligence-based response to crime,” Governor Scott said.  “While the law enforcement entities in these agencies and departments have long-worked together and intersected on multiple cases and investigations, more clearly defined areas of operational responsibility will help support response capacity statewide.”

In the near term, as the State works to hire more law enforcement officers, these operational modifications will support law enforcement capacity to respond to the most pressing and urgent public safety needs. And for the longer term, these efforts are a first step in what the Governor expects to be continuous improvement in the level of coordination and collaboration between state law enforcement assets.


  • DLL’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement will conduct follow-up investigations on all alcohol-related crashes involving liquor licenses, handle all enforcement concerns of the Cannabis Control Board when it needs law enforcement support, and investigate unemployment benefits fraud cases for the Department of Labor. 
  • DMV’s Enforcement and Safety Division will handle all crashes involving commercial vehicles and provide a higher-profile presence on highways and state routes. DMV Inspectors will continue to support federal, state, and municipal law enforcement partners with emergency response and investigative assistance.
  • Fish and Wildlife’s Warden Service Division will handle all accidental hunting-related shootings, provide primary response for patrols and investigations on state land (including access areas, state parks, and Wildlife Management Areas), and conduct all animal cruelty investigations
  • The Vermont State Police will continue to conduct statewide criminal investigations and use increased capacity created by these clarified areas of responsibility to help sustain community patrols and response, and the statewide focus on addressing violent crime, drug-related incidents, and domestic violence.


On August 17, Governor Scott issued a 10-point public safety enhancement and violence prevention action plan, laying out the framework of a comprehensive response to address violent crime and other public safety concerns across the state. Click here for more information.

Categories: State Government

7 replies »

  1. While I certainly don’t have a problem with inter-agency cooperation, and resource sharing, I would hope that the lines drawn between these Law Enforcement agencies is not blurred to the point where their original missions are compromised. The money that I spend on hunting, and fishing licenses is in part to ensure that the laws pertaining to these interests is used to enforce the laws regulating it. If I witness a deer jacking, and need a Game Warden to apprehend the deer jacker, and he is assisting VSP in apprehending a speeder, will this cost him time responding to my situation ? If my house alarm system is activated for a B&E, and the nearest VSP Trooper is assisting busting a deer jacker, how much extra time will it take for him to respond ? One answer could be as simple as hiring more law enforcement officers. I have always thought it to be a questionable use of money to have VSP running radar on the Interstate. In my opinion this could/should be handled by DMV, thus relieving VSP for other duties. It is my opinion that DMV is underutilized. Unless it is a criminal use/abuse of a motor vehicle, why are the VSP involved ? Just a thought.

  2. Wait….Isn’t this all racist. Or sexist? Or somethingist? I bet it is – let me call Balint!

  3. I think it’s time for Col. Birmingham to go. He’s done nothing but drown VSP since he came. VSP doesn’t want to do anything anymore. Bye Bye…

  4. While I am solidly in the “Blue lives matter” category, any expansion of enforcement roles or allowing other jurisdictions to take on new roles outside of their traditional purview is a concern.
    It sounds too much like what we have been seeing at the Federal level with IRS, DEA and EPA agents being armed to the teeth.

    • “It sounds too much like what we have been seeing at the Federal level with IRS, DEA and EPA agents being armed to the teeth.”So true Rich ! Meanwhile, on our Southern boarder, Boarder Patrol has been stuck with administrative duties in the office. Finish the wall !!!! Pat Finnie

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