Police Report

Three state troopers cleared during internal investigations

The Vermont Department of Public Safety (DPS)and the State Police Advisory Commission SPAC) today released the second semiannual detailed summary of internal investigations involving members of the Vermont State Police.

The release of these detailed synopses began in January 2021 and is designed to provide greater transparency, public awareness and oversight to the activities of the Vermont State Police (VSP), while balancing rules regarding internal investigations and the need to have internal investigations completed before public dissemination.

A report attached to the statement contains synopses of the 11 matters that came before SPAC from July 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020. The report shows that of the 11 cases, eight came to the attention of supervisors due to internal reporting by members of the state police, while three matters arose through concerns raised by community members.

Three of the complaints were determined to have represented no violation of VSP policy by the member in question. The other eight complaints either were substantiated, or the trooper involved resigned before the internal investigation concluded. The complaints in this category included instances related to accidental firearms discharge; off-duty alcohol consumption; violations of COVID-19 safety protocols; mistreatment of other troopers; discourteousness with the public; inaccuracies in a traffic ticket; and an instance of domestic assault. Sanctions for the substantiated violations ranged from letters of reprimand to termination of employment.

Synopses in the report do not include identifying information about the troopers involved, which is confidential as a matter of law.

The State Police Advisory Commission was created by statute in 1979 and comprises seven members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Vermont Senate. Among the duties of SPAC is to provide civilian oversight of the Vermont State Police and to advise and counsel the Commissioner of Public Safety in his/her overall responsibilities for the management, supervision and control of the Vermont State Police. In addition, SPAC is statutorily empowered to provide advice and counsel to the Commissioner of Public Safety to ensure appropriate action is taken with respect to allegations of misconduct by Vermont State Police officers. To assist the Commissioner of Public Safety and SPAC, Vermont law also requires DPS to maintain an Office of Internal Investigations (IA), whose sole responsibility is to investigate allegations of misconduct by members of the Vermont State Police. The IA Office, staffed with a Vermont State Police commander, reports directly to the Commissioner.

The current SPAC members represent a cross-section of Vermont. They are: Chairwoman Nancy Sheahan; Vice Chairman Glenn Boyde; and members Allison Crowley, John Filipek, Shirley Jefferson, and Mary Alice McKenzie.

The Department of Public Safety IA Office receives allegations of misconduct or improper conduct by a Vermont state trooper in two ways. First, the public may lodge a complaint regarding a state trooper’s conduct by telephone, through the Vermont State Police website, via email, or in person. These allegations are referred to as “citizen complaints.” In addition, each VSP member is obligated to report promptly any evidence or allegation of misconduct or improper conduct involving a state trooper. These reports are referred to as “employee complaints.”

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