Gillam: Law enforcement needs strong legislative leadership

by Bill Gillam

There are signs calling for lawmakers to show strong leadership to support law enforcement efforts across our state. 

You just have to listen to what was said at the November 2 Rutland City Town Hall Public Safety meeting and at the Rutland City Board of Alderman Meeting on November 6. Then take a read of Angelo Lynn’s Addison Independent editorial from October 19, “Upholding Law and Order: A Call for Strong Leadership in Middlebury”. Addison County is facing the same issues we’re facing in Rutland. 

Theft and vandalism are not isolated to Rutland and Addison Counties, this is a statewide issue. Business and property owners are crying for help and law enforcement officials scratch their heads and shrug their shoulders as a revolving-door justice system enables repeat offenders to continue their criminal behavior without facing appropriate consequences. 

Bill Gillam

This must stop. I know that most Rutland County Legislators are on board to address this issue during the upcoming legislative session, but we need to put a full-court press on for change from lawmakers across the state.

I say bravo to Angelo Lynn, regrettably, I cannot say the same for the apparent lack of clarity exhibited by some currently serving in Montpelier, especially Addison County’s Sen. Ruth Hardy, in addressing the growing issues of retail theft and property vandalism, catch and release policies, and homelessness. It is imperative that we prioritize real policing and real consequences – including bail – to protect our businesses and property owners to ensure the prosperity of our city.

At the October 10 Middlebury Selectboard meeting, Sen. Hardy showed an inability or unwillingness to understand the plain wording of the Vermont Constitution on the use of bail. Sen. Hardy repeated several times that the Vermont constitution prohibits excessive bail. “I just want to clarify and underscore that excessive bail is prohibited by our state constitution. It is not statutory,” Hardy said. “It is not something that the three of us in this room could introduce the bill about and change next session. We would have to introduce a constitutional amendment to the Vermont state constitution.” 

But no one is asking our local legislators to push for constitutional repeal of the ‘excessive bail’ provision. Instead, I and many other Vermonters ask lawmakers to bolster bail laws as permitted by the Constitution, which says: “All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties.” 

That clause says a judge may always impose bail. “Sureties” is legal talk for “if they jump bail, it’ll cost them.” Speaking before the Selectboard, Sen. Hardy unaccountably glossed over that part while emphasizing and re-emphasizing other sections of Section II, Amendment 40.

If only Vermont judges could be given the authority to act on the concept that “all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties,”. The bail-free catch-and-release policies currently in place contribute to a revolving-door justice system. While law enforcement is writing up and filing the case, repeat offenders walk out the revolving door to re-offend. Criminal behavior continues without offenders facing appropriate consequences.

Retail theft, as one example, has reached alarming levels, causing financial losses for local businesses, and undermining the hard work and dedication of entrepreneurs, while disheartening customers and the public. 

Our Legislature must step up and re-prioritize the safety and security of our home, businesses, and their customers. This includes allocating resources to enhance law enforcement presence, implementing robust surveillance systems, and fostering stronger collaboration between businesses and law enforcement officials. 

By creating an environment that deters criminal activity and ensures fair justice, we can safeguard both citizens’ safety and the livelihoods of our business community. So, I call on Sen. Ruth Hardy as chair of the Government Operations Committee, and other like lawmakers, to recognize and prioritize the urgency of addressing this issue and support policies that prioritize public safety, such as implementing mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders and reforming the criminal justice system to emphasize both accountability and rehabilitation. 

Leniency undermines the rule of law and perpetuates a cycle of crime harmful to both perpetrator and victim alike. It is time for Vermont Legislators from all parties to stand up, to show leadership on Public Safety issues, to improve the toolbox that is our Vermont Statues, and support municipalities in their duties to protect the Public.

Author is a resident of, and the Alderman for, the City of Rutland.

Categories: Commentary

6 replies »

  1. Can I ask a couple simple questions? Where were all of you 3 years ago? Remember BLM and the countries roll over for someone who died from a drug overdose? Defend the police, remember that? Why now are you asking for support for our police forces? Because it’s getting a little to close to home? I agree we need support from legislature. But now your depending on the ones crying to cut police funding, to wake up? Leftists do not listen to anything other than talking points from their party. Facts, truth doesn’t even factor in. We need new legislators, if you want to see change and support. You get what you vote for.

  2. “Sen. Hardy repeated several times that the Vermont constitution prohibits excessive bail.” Is Senator Hardy as staunch of a supporter of the Constitution when it comes to Article 16 ? “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State”

  3. I’m a senior citizen who was attending a property inspection with city inspector Mike brookman at my sister-in-law’s house in Rutland Vermont.

    Squatters had taken over the property and a 48 hour notice has to be given for the landlord to go in and inspect the property..

    A notice was given and I showed up with my sister-in-law and Mike brookman and a woman from the city of Rutland where they are along with two squatters who had taken over the property.

    Prior to going on the property I told Mike brookman that I would not say anything that I would just be filming the interaction and the inside and outside to see what damage has been done to the property.

    While filming the property one of the young men left his location on the right of everybody and decided to go into the house and reappear with a cell phone in one hand and something else in the other.

    Well I was filming walking up towards the conversation that was taking place between Mike and the person had taken over the residence The young man that was squatting sprung towards me while I was filming extending his arm and jamming his cell phone into my left eye causing an eye injury that I suffer with today.

    I have been to four police commission meetings where I have been lied to and call the liar. I was told by the police commission chair Sean Seargent that I belonged in handcuffs as a result of this incident where I was attacked.

    In the first phone conversation I ever had with the chief regarding this he screamed at me for daring to write in the report that I called these people squatters… That is exactly what they told us they wanted to be called.

    I have been asking for a year to find out the name of the person that attacked me and injured my left eye and to date I have not received that person’s name.

    I attended the two public safety committee meetings and I have video from them.. as a matter of fact the last one they held I attempted to speak and and alderman Sharon Davis asked me if it was pertinent to the meeting or was it regarding my incident when I was injured.

    I told her I attended the meeting because it was advertised as being about squatters and I received this injury as the result of a squatter.

    I went on to mention that I had spoken to Sharon Davis, Mayor Doenges, police chief Kilcullen and two alderman chair Talbot.. I also mentioned the fact that in spite of the fact that I have attended four police commission meetings have approached the police directly have approached public records in the police department and I still do not have the name of the person that attacked me and injured my eye.

    After I made my statement to these city leaders in which Mr Gilliam was present not a one of them had a comment to make to me.

    I approached Mr Talbot after the meeting and II was told by Mr Talbot that there was nothing he could do about me being attacked were the injury to my eye and that I should hire an attorney to read the city charter..

    I don’t think Mr Talbot should be chair of the alderman if he doesn’t understand or can’t point me to the authority that would be in charge of investigating this crime completely and without bias..

    I have a video of what I said to these people if anyone would like to view it I will make it available.

    I have been through holy heck dealing with city government even being attacked in City Hall by a woman that I had never met screaming at the top of her lungs that I had to leave City Hall immediately that I had been there too many times.. that was during a conversation I was having with Barb Spaulding when I was trying to find out the process of the minutes of the police commission because they always seem to be lacking the truth.

    I had no idea who the person was at the time and I explain that I was there seeking public information and it shouldn’t create any problem whatsoever however she did create a problem and a public disturbance in City Hall.. I asked her to identify herself at which point she just turned around and attempted to get away.. I said at least let me take your picture so I can identify you later.

    Within minutes three police officers showed up stopping me from gaining my public information in spite of the fact I had done nothing wrong. I didn’t create any disturbance by having a normal conversation with the person who took the minutes for the police commission.

    Instead of letting me continue to find out the information I needed from the minutes of the meetings they just shut me down.. I believe it’s a violation of my civil rights to stop me from doing what I was doing.

    I called Ms Zambon, after being told by Barb Spaulding that she would be the person to speak to regarding the questions I had about minutes and about the other things that I was requesting. I was told she was the assistant to the police chief so she would be the source that would be most helpful. That was a year ago requeted information on how to FOIA body cam footage and how to file complaints on police officers and city employees and other information that would be helpful to me in researching this case…

    After waiting a year I went to police records and attempted to speak to Zambon a couple of times. I was always told that she was not there or was too busy to speak.. I was really interested in finding out answers to the police commission minutes and who handled them and who edited them before they were posted.. I kept being told that she had nothing to do with it in spite of the fact that Barb Spaulding said she did and the city attorney told me that Miss Zambon did the minutes..

    A young lady named Misty was speaking with me and she said she would see if she could come out and speak to me for a second and I said that would be wonderful. As I stood there standing in a little teeny crowded space a door opened so I stepped back to allow room for someone to open it properly and out stepped professional standards Commander Sam Delpha. He got nose to nose with me and told me I could not speak to Zambon. I asked him aren’t you the officer that lied to the state’s attorney when you sent the report over to him about the incident that injured my eye… He didn’t like the idea that he was called out for lying to the state’s attorney about what happened in spite of the fact I asked him if he watched the video which clearly shows the attack the position of the attacker and what the attacker used to hit me in the eye and injure me.. at that point he told me if I did not leave the building he would escort me out.. he had no idea what other information I was there to see but he was more than happy to cause another violation of my civil rights to gather public information.

    Sean Sargeant, The chair of the police commission was a willing participant in the lies that went to the state’s attorney because he helped prepare that report

    I went to the state’s attorney to get a copy of that information that was sent to them because Sean Sergeant lied to me and told me that he had mailed it to me.. he never did.

    When I went to meet with the state’s attorney Ian Sullivan, after scheduling an appointment with him, I asked him if I could videotape our meeting so there would be no question about what came out of the envelope that he was presenting to me and the conversation that we would be having regarding that information… He said if you want to video tape our conversation you are going to have to leave.. during that conversation I pointed out the lies that both professional community standards Commander Sam Delpha and police commission chair Sean Sargent sent to him..

    I believe it is a crime to do that and I’m now wondering why these people aren’t being prosecuted for their crimes against an innocent man that was assaulted and their attempts to cover it up because the chief was upset that I called these squatters.. squatters

    During the last police commission meeting I attended I asked the chief a question if you was involved with the call that sent three police officers storming to City Hall to violate my constitutional rights.

    He said he has no knowledge of any of it.. so I asked him as police chief you have no knowledge that I was verbally assaulted by the city clerk and that three police officers were sent there to violate my civil rights.. he said he had no knowledge..

    Well you know this pose is a big problem for the chief because the city attorney told me he is the one that initiated the action..

    I am sick of the corrupt government in the city of Rutland Vermont which includes the board of alderman, the police commission and the police chief along with some of the officers.

    It’s really amazing the Bill Gilliam wrote this article after I sat in a meeting with these people and pointed out that they mentioned the removal of garbage around houses and parked cars around houses and even Mr Cupolini ignored the fact that an elderly man was attacked and the only thing he could add is that we need to raise the fees to 500 bucks for the people that violate city ordinances..

    This is all a force to collect more money from the state of Vermont to pad their corrupt pockets at a cost to the taxpayers that they refuse to protect and to allow criminals to run free in the city of Rutland Vermont without prosecution and lying to the state’s attorney to prevent that prosecution from taking place..

    We need an investigation into the police department in the city of Rutland Vermont and to the corrupt police commission that is supposed to hold our police department accountable..

    When our police department lies about an assault and presents those lies to the state’s attorney to prevent this attacker from being prosecuted something is very wrong with our policing in the city of Rutland Vermont..

    People in Rutland are not safe when this criminal activity by the police department is allowed to go unchecked..

    I have several videos that I have taken at these events and at meetings I have had with the city attorney and when my rights were violated by professional standards Commander Sam Delpha.

    No one has to take my word for any of this I have the proof on video..

    Throwing money at this problem is only more of a burden to the taxpayers that expect these officers to live up to the oath they take to protect the Constitution and that involves protecting the people from the criminal activity taking place in Rutland Vermont.

    I’m amazed that the alderman, police commission, The city attorney, and the police chief would allow this corruption to take place.

    I sat in that last public safety meeting that was chaired by alderman Sharon Davis and made the point with Chief Kilcullen sitting there that I still do not have the name of the person that attacked me after a year of asking for it.

    No one has reached out to me in the past year to provide any information that I have requested.

    This is a very long story with a lot of proof to bring forward to anyone that is interested enough to look at it…

    • I spoke at the meeting of alderman on October 16th at 15:14 in the video of that night I began to speak and address these issues…

      I believe alderman Gilliam was in attendance along with all the women Sharon Davis…

      I would appreciate it if everyone went to see what I had to say about the crime in Rutland City.

      I offered information and videos to the board publicly at that meeting and they have chosen to ignore the criminal activity taking place in the city of Rutland Vermont..

    • Mr. Ley,
      I would strongly recommend you obtain a lawyer. If you cannot obtain a lawyer due to lack of funds, then I urge you to see the Legal Aid organization here in Vermont. The website is:
      Yours is the hard battle. The slow, painful, expensive battle of fighting using the rules as opposed to the alternative currently used by the left/progressive/liberal group. I suggest you file a civil lawsuit but a lawyer will best guide you.

  4. The swamp runs deep and wide. The amount of corruption and collusion running through the Green Mountains is enough to puke a dog. Mr. Ley’s experience can likely be retold, in different ways, several times over. If there is evidence and facts presented to the fake authorities, they proceed to gaslight, stonewall or simply ignore the complaintant. They’re only role is protect the guilty (themselves included) and put decent people into lawfare chokeholds to shut them up, bankrupt them or make them go away. They are sick, delusional, demonically possessed despots. The day of retribution is coming for all them. Tick, tock.