Guv’s plan would centralize police hiring, training, use of force under State control

By Guy Page

The Vermont Department of Public Safety wants public feedback on its plan to “modernize policing across Vermont” by centralizing under State control policies for diversity hiring, policies for use of force and body cameras, banning invasive surveillance, and more. 

If enacted, the plan would centralize at the state level many hiring, training and policy-making powers now exercised at the local level of Vermont police agencies.

Governor Scott’s Public Safety Reform Initiative, created through Executive Order 03-20, directs the commissioner of public safety to “actively engage with communities, particularly those communities that have been historically marginalized or harmed by policing, as we develop and deploy best policing practices.” Additional details on the earlier 2020 modernization strategy and original 10-point plan are also available at

VT Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling – photo credit

Vermont Daily noted at the Nov. 27 press conference that the plan “seems as much about concentration of policing authority as it is modernization of policing methods.” In response, Public Safety Commissoner Michael Schirling, the plan’s architect, defended the need for statewide policing standards and practices. 

“We’ve reached a point where disparity of operation [for gatherng information, use of force, etc.] is not the way the public expects for things to function,” Schirling said. 

 “We have years of studies… they all say the same thing,” Schirling said. “Duplication and having that kind of variation is not the way to run these kinds of operations.”

A September 9 Vermont Daily report shows the Public Safety Reform Initiative includes:

  • New hiring and promotion systems of police and police executives in  “all law enforcement agencies statewide.”
  • Hiring practices that promote diversity
  • Statewide police dispatch and data computer system, standardized and mandatory for all agencies, to make use of force, traffic stops, arrests, mental health and other data 
  • Statewide model policy on body worn cameras for all law enforcement agencies and officers
  • Statewide model policy on police use of force, including when and how military equipment may be used. This policy would ban “invasive surveillance technologies, advanced autonomous weaponry, facial recognition software or predictive policing technologies….failure to adopt the statewide model use of force policy shall result in limitations on state funding and access to training for the agency”
  • Updated statewide training, schedules and methods
  • Civilian or non-agency investigators to investigate allegations of improper conduct

Members of the public who would like to provide comments may do so by visiting Alternatively, they may email comments to

9 replies »

  1. I really don’t think Vermont needs the political BS in their town bidding of police and civilian over eight when civilians have no idea what the normal day is for law enforcement. Vermont law enforcement does not need your “modern times approch” Let them do their jobs

  2. There are the operative words…. under State Control. we are at the bottom of the slippery slope.

  3. Under the US Constitution the ELECTED County Sheriff is the only legal law enforcement in the county. All other “police” are just code enforcers and mercenaries. Federal “authorities” are subject to removal from the county by the county Sheriff. The only federal law enforcement recognized by the Constitution are the US Marshals. There shouldn’t be any STATE police, which are just another level of thuggery. Vermont needs to regain its senses and heritage and get rid of these totalitarian freaks who first say “defund the police” and then say “let us control all the police because we know best”.

  4. the state should never be in charge of the police force, sounds like nazism and what they did in the 1930’s

  5. Wow! One more way for big government to take control. More Socialism at work. State government ,instead ,needs to let it be known that if you commit the crime in Vermont, you do the time. Then let our Sheriffs and local and State police do their jobs. Let’s get tough on criminals and leave law enforcement alone to do their jobs.

  6. NEVER! Those are our local police, responding to our needs, not just the needs of Burlington’s old north end, or the opiod pipeline..

    If the only goal is to homogonize every procedure and report, that is not to serve area citizens,
    but to serve bureaucracy. and bean counters.

  7. Those who just sit in offices and dream of ways they can gather more control over our lives should, in no way, have the oversight of our police. They don’t have a clue what police officers deal with every day. They perhaps view staged events or sometimes ‘traps’ and feel the need to meddle. Let the towns handle their own police force. We don’t need more bureaucrats telling us how to live, while they take away our freedoms one by one!!

  8. Note to guv: your citizens, the ones who have given you limited and temporary power in Vermont are speaking out in direct opposition to this notion of your to get all police under state (your) control. Absolute power corrupts…absolutely.