Governor Phil Scott yesterday issued his 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.
“Vermont is among the safest, healthiest states in the country, and that remains true today,” said Governor Scott. “But the fact is, a statewide workforce crisis, coupled with various social and public policy factors, have resulted in a spike in criminal activity and these trends are negatively impacting the public safety and welfare of the state. To address this, we need all our law enforcement organizations to work more closely together, get all our intelligence and data on the table, and face this head on.”
To begin, Governor Scott has directed the commissioner of Public Safety and other agency and department executives – in partnership with other law enforcement entities, prosecutors, and the judiciary – to implement a 10-point plan focused on three core goals:
- To reinforce frontline law enforcement capacity and prioritize immediate reduction, prevention and prosecution of violent crime statewide;
- To expand prosecution capacity and help the courts address a backlog of cases; and
- To prioritize long-term violence prevention policies, systems, and services.
Building off ongoing efforts by the Scott Administration and local partners, the Governor’s directives lay out initiatives to ensure the Vermont State Police can continue to support the needs of communities and local police departments while taking steps to enhance the response in regional hot spots. This includes efforts to augment staffing with law enforcement personnel from other agencies, and with temporary hiring of retired officers.
The Attorney General’s Office has also agreed to expand the State’s capacity for prosecuting major crimes, including all levels of violence associated with drug and human trafficking, and the Judiciary has prioritized eliminating its case backlog to ensure these prosecutions can move forward in a timely manner.
The Governor has also directed the commissioner of Public Safety to expand the role of the Vermont Intelligence Center, directed his agency and department executives to establish a more nimble interagency collaboration modeled after Vermont’s nation-leading COVID-19 response, and will reestablish a Violence Prevention Task Force to focus on preventing violence in communities and schools.
“We’ve shown that when we roll up our sleeves, knock down silos and work together with a clear and measurable goal, we can lead the nation in addressing challenges and protecting people. This framework will be key to remaining the safest state in the country with a criminal justice system that is fair and equal to all,” added Governor Scott.