Less-Lethal Tools Central To Vermont State Police Updated Use-Of-Force Policy

Vermont State Police are emphasizing less-lethal weapons and tactics as they review their use-of-force procedures, as well as the policies that dictate when and how officers return to the job after critical incidents. But while some new weapons, tools and administrative changes have already been adopted, the policies surrounding use of force are still being reviewed.

The changes come in response to three fatal police shootings involving VSP since September 2017. 

New administrative procedures related to critical incidents, which range from the use of lethal force to responding to fatal car crashes or homicides, include more paid administrative leave days for officers and changes to the work they perform when they return to duty. 

The updated use-of-force policies expand the Tactile Service Unit's training and use of less-lethal weapons like plastic ammunition and beanbag projectiles. Some of those less-lethal weapons and tactics will also be adopted more broadly by the Field Force troopers throughout Vermont.

Vermont Edition spoke with Maj. John Merrigan, the commander of VSP's Field Force Division, to learn more about the new policies.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, April 17, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.