Public Safety

Frank Amato / courtesy, Eagle Times

You can’t just walk into Springfield High School: There's a camera trained on the front door — which is locked — all part of the school's security plan. And that's just the beginning.

18-year-old Jack Sawyer, of Poultney, enters Rutland Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon wearing handcuffs.
Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press / Pool

Jack Sawyer, the 18-year-old Poultney man, accused in a thwarted school shooting plot in Fair Haven will continue to be held without bail.

I am a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association with a healthy distrust of our government, and I was as heart-broken as anyone to learn how one young man turned predator and hunted down and murdered fellow human beings – most of them children not unlike my own.

When you told your mom you loved her
before you caught the bus this morning
you meant it in the way a teenager means it
when they kiss their mother on the cheek,
cereal on their breath,
backpack on their shoulder,
head in a million places.

(left to right) Chief Amy Akerlind, Colchester Rescue, Chief Steven Locke, Burlington Fire Department, Aaron Frank, Deputy Town Manager in Colchester, and South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple, present the plan for a consolidated dispatch center.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Towns in Chittenden County are hoping to improve how fast emergency services respond to calls by pooling resources for dispatching those services. 

An item on seven town meeting ballots would set the stage for the creation of one consolidated center to handle 911 calls from member towns.

Vermont State trooper cars parked.
Steve Zind / VPR file

The Vermont House has given initial approval to a bill that would allow law enforcement officers to administer a saliva test that would indicate the presence of certain drugs, including marijuana.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, seen here on the Senate floor in a 2016 file photo, says the extreme risk bill approved by the Vermont Senate Wednesday could prevent acts of gun violence.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

As lawmakers nationwide consider new ways to get guns out of the hands of dangerous people, the Vermont Senate has advanced a bill that would make it easier for police to seize firearms from people who pose an "extreme risk" to themselves or others.

Cpl. Scott Alkinburgh, the school resource officer at Fair Haven Union High School, testified Tuesday in Rutland's Superior Court
Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press / Pool

Six witnesses — most of them law enforcement — testified Tuesday in Rutland Criminal Court, helping prosecutors lay the groundwork in the case against an 18-year-old Poultney man accused in a thwarted school shooting plot at Fair Haven Union High School.

After a wild temperature swing, along with rain and snow, downtown Johnson flooded on Saturday.
Courtesy Dan Noyes

Officials in two Vermont towns hit by ice-jam flooding last month are preparing for another round of rising water levels over the next few days.

Jane Lindholm / VPR

With the 17 people who lost their lives when a gunman opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida, last week are still very much on the minds of Americans a two-year-old essay by Burlington writer Kimberly Harrington has renewed resonance.

Johnson Select Board Members Doug Molde (left) and Nat Kinney look at a map of the Lamoille River in Johnson. The board voted to hire heavy equipment to clear ice jams out of the river to prevent what they believe to be imminent flooding in the village.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

With warmer weather and rain in the forecast early next week, the Johnson Select Board has decided to take proactive measures to prevent flooding.

courtesy of the Vermont State Police

According to a press release from the Vermont State Police, Jack Sawyer, 18, was arrested Thursday after police learned Sawyer had “communicated his desire to cause mass casualties at the Fair Haven High School.”

Screenshot from WCAX stream of Vermont State Police Press Conference

Authorities are investigating an officer-involved shooting that took place after a traffic stop on Interstate 89 southbound Sunday, leaving one man dead.

It seemed like an uncontroversial move when the Lebanon, New Hampshire, school board voted last fall to ban faculty, students, and members of the public from bringing firearms onto school property, into school vehicles, and to school events on any property in the city.

Patrick Warn talks in an office to Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux.
Emily Corwin / VPR

If Vermont’s county sheriffs are accountable to their voters, but most of their voters don’t pay much attention to them, what happens when they do something wrong?

Nearly 1,000 people showed up at the Statehouse Tuesday evening to argue for and against proposed legislation that would allow police to temporarily remove guns from someone arrested or cited for domestic violence.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In the latest testament to the enduring salience of the politics of firearms in Vermont, nearly 1,000 people turned out at a public hearing in the Statehouse Tuesday evening to offer impassioned arguments for — and against — proposed gun legislation.

Sadly, last week’s shooting at a rural Kentucky high school that left two dead and eighteen injured didn’t seem to hold our attention for very long.

Gov. Phil Scott, seen here in his Montpelier office on the one year anniversary into his two-year gubernatorial term.
Henry Epp / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott says he expects to sign the marijuana legalization bill that lawmakers sent him this week before Monday. But supporters of the legislation won’t get to celebrate at a public signing ceremony.

Stephen Mills / Times Argus

A robbery suspect killed by police Tuesday has been identified as 32 year-old Nathan Giffin of  Essex.

Giffin was killed in a standoff with police outside Montpelier High School.

After a wild temperature swing, along with rain and snow, downtown Johnson flooded on Saturday.
Courtesy Dan Noyes

Residents around the region are recovering after ice jams clogged some rivers and caused flooding over the weekend. The ice jams resulted from a wild temperature swing and mix of rain and snow.