Public Safety

I’m a volunteer for Everybody Wins, a reading program for elementary school children. And recently, I was reading with a nine year old third grader in the library of the school near where I live when an announcement came over the loud speakers that we were in a lock down and to find a secure space.

It was a warm April afternoon in nineteen ninety nine when I first heard about the Columbine massacre in which two Columbine shooters killed thirteen before taking their own lives. I was about to teach a yoga class and my yoga training hadn’t prepared me for how to respond to an event like this. So my students and I simply sat on our mats and talked.

Baxternator / iStock

Vermont’s police departments face a workforce shortage as older officers approach retirement. Some forces are in year-round recruitment mode, as they could see 20 to 30 percent of their officers retiring in the near future. Experts say more diversity in police ranks could increase the public’s trust and cooperation, which creates safer communities.

According to court documents, Betty Miller made ricin out of castor beans she harvested from the grounds of Wake Robin in Shelburne.
saraTM / iStock

The FBI has arrested a resident of the Wake Robin retirement community in Shelburne after she admitted to making ricin and then putting it in the food and beverages of other residents in an attempt to test its effectiveness, according to court documents.

The sign outside the Vermont Department of Public Safety headquarters.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Vermont's Public Safety Broadband Network Commission was tasked with determining the state's best option for building out a public safety broadband network. The commission is now recommending that Gov. Phil Scott opt in to a federal contract with AT&T.

Toby Talbot / Times Argus Pool/AP

The Vermont woman convicted of killing three of her family members and a state social worker in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday.

Vermont inmate Roger Brown died in prison in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania where he and more than 200 other Vermont inmates are housed because of a lack of in-state prison space.
Marc Levy / Associated Press file

On October 15, Vermont inmate Roger Brown died of metastatic cancer at the prison infirmary in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. He wrote in his diary that prison medical staff provided him with ibuprofen, Tylenol and gel shoe inserts to manage his pain and never told him about the cancer that was causing it.

The FBI released hate crime statistics for 2016 which showed that nationally and in Vermont, the number of reported hate crimes rose. In Vermont, there 25 reported hate crimes last year, up from eight in 2015.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Reported hate crimes increased across the country and in Vermont last year, according to data released Monday by the FBI.

A Green Mountain Power truck pulls out of the Middlebury shop on Wednesday. GMP said Wednesday that for people in certain towns and cities, it could be Friday night before power comes back on.
Melody Bodette / VPR

When a storm blew through Vermont earlier this week, it knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in all parts of the state. Utilities say that because these outages are so scattered, it has been a slow process to bring power back to homes. It could even be into the weekend before power is restored in some areas.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Department of Motor Vehicles is considering adding a third option for people when they choose a gender to appear on their driver's license.

The co-founders of the Phytoscience Institute, Willy Cats-Baril, Dr. Kalev Freeman, Monique McHenry, Tom Grace and Robin Grace, from left, say they started the firm to improve medical cannabis research. The institute won a license to open a dispensary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

The Phytoscience Institute in Waterbury won a license last week to become the state's fifth medical marijuana dispensary.  Competition for the new dispensary license was fierce, with five applicants vying for the coveted registration certificate. But the CEO of the winning cannabis research firm says he doesn't expect to profit from the dispensaries themselves.

The Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield. In a report to the federal government, Vermont disclosed that 17 inmates were sexually victimized in state-run prisons last year.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Seventeen inmates were “sexually victimized” in Vermont prisons last year, according to a recently filed disclosure by the Vermont Department of Corrections. 

The Rover, CSWD's mobile household hazardous waste collection vehicle, had to shut down operations in Jericho on Saturday when someone turned in explosive diethyl ether.
Chittenden Solid Waste District

Chittenden Solid Waste District staffers got more than they bargained for at a household hazardous waste collection in Jericho on Saturday when someone tried to dispose of diethyl ether, a substance the district referred to as a "shock-sensitive explosive chemical."

Sheriff Keith Clark underwent therapy at the Brattleboro Retreat for depression and suicidal thoughts. He's going public with the hope that it will help others.
Toby Talbot / AP File

One of Vermont's most well-known law enforcement officers is speaking out about his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts, in the hopes that it might help others seek help.

According to a 2003 study in the American Journal of Public Health, when guns are present in domestic violence situations, women are five times more likely to be killed.
Taylor Dobbs, Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

Between Jan. 1, 2011 and the end of 2016 there were 420 gun deaths in Vermont. Most were suicides but more than half of the female homicide victims were killed by their boyfriends or husbands.

On this "Vermont Edition," we're talking about a new push for highway safety by state and local law enforcement across the state.
Doug Kerr / flickr

Following a recent rash of traffic fatalities, state and local law enforcement officials are conducting high-visibility campaigns to encourage Vermonters to use their seatbelts and to slow down. On this Vermont Edition, we're looking at efforts to improve highway safety in Vermont.

Since Vermont started collecting data in 1994 the number of domestic violence related homicides, as a percentage of all homicides, has been dropping.

Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson speaks at a highway safety press conference in Waterbury on Tuesday afternoon. Following recent fatalities on Vermont roads, Anderson says there will be a greater presence of state and local police on roadways.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Over a 48-hour period beginning this past weekend, eight people died in traffic accidents in various parts of the state. Vermont has rarely witnessed this many highway deaths in such a short period of time.

VPR/Steve Zind

The Vermont State Police has joined other agencies nationwide in responding to numerous reports of exhaust leaks in Ford Explorers. The vehicles are widely used by law enforcement.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo, right, says remarks by President Donald Trump last week were "very unhelpful to hardworking police everywhere."
Taylor Dobbs / VPR file

Police in Vermont have joined law enforcement officials across the country in condemning remarks by President Donald Trump that appeared to condone excessive force by cops.

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