Public Safety

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.

Gathered for the award ceremony are (l to r) Morristown Police Chief Richard Keith, Officer Lance D. Lamb, Cheryl Machia, Wendy Domina, Darlene Reynolds, UVM Medical Center Trauma Program Manager Jennifer Gratton and Trauma/Acute Care Surgeon Tim H. Lee.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A Morristown Police Officer has received the Vermont Department of Health’s Star of Life Award. The honor is in recognition of going above and beyond the call of duty, according to state EMS Chief Dan Bastie.

Joby Feccia will be the last Waterbury village police chief. Villagers have voted to disband the village government, which includes eliminating the police department.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Last month the Village of Waterbury voted overwhelmingly in favor of a charter amendment that would effectively eliminate the village government and turn authority over to the town. The biggest change will be the elimination of the village police department, which is the only police department in town.

Vermont will study how so-called 'rape kits' are processed into evidence, as part of a new law that Gov. Phil Scott signed on Tuesday, July 17, 2017.
Rick Bowmer / AP

The governor signed two bills on Tuesday that extend protections for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Some of the changes have been long in coming for the advocates who work on these issues.

In his Waterbury office Terry LaValley, Vermont's Director of Radio Technology Services, has a collection showing the evolution of radio communications in Vermont.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

An effort to build a national cell data network for first responders is likely to bring the added benefit of better cell phone coverage for all Vermonters. But some say the state could be doing more to get the most out of FirstNet.

Jody Herring, seen here in court in August 2015, took a plea deal Thursday, pleading guilty to one count of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder.
Toby Talbot / AP/Times Argus/File

Jody Herring, the prime suspect for the murders of four people in central Vermont in August 2015, plead guilty Thursday as part of a plea deal.

Inmates outside of the Camp Hill prison in Pennsylvania. 269 Vermont inmates are now housed at this facility.
Jasper Craven / VT Digger

Vermont corrections officials confirmed this week that 269 inmates Vermont houses outside the state have been moved from a private facility in Michigan to a state-run prison in Pennsylvania, called Camp Hill.

Commercial fishermen in Northern New England face their fair share of challenges. Along with declining fish stocks and tight catch regulations, the occupation also remains one of the most dangerous in the country.

With that ever-present risk in mind, dozens of fishermen turned out in New Castle, New Hampshire recently for a day-long safety training exercise.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bostontx/

President Trump announced on Monday a plan to turn air traffic control at the nation's airports over to a non-profit corporation, a plan that worries Gene Richards, director of aviation at Burlington International Airport.

A sign in Stowe alerts trucks on Route 108 before the Smugglers' Notch section, as seen in this June 3, 2016 photo. Josh Schultz of the Vermont Agency of Transportation is tasked with trying to fix the problem of stuck trucks in Smugglers' Notch.
Wilson Ring / Associated Press

If there's one place in Vermont a big truck should never go, it's Smugglers' Notch. But since trucks still do get stuck in the notch, the Vermont Agency of Transportation is working on figuring out new ways to warn approaching drivers.

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