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Killington Constable Restructuring. 2013 Police Department Proposal. Introduction / History.

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killington constable restructuring

Killington Constable Restructuring

2013 Police Department Proposal

introduction history
Introduction / History

I have been a Police Officer in Killington for 13 years, hired by Howie Zack and the Town as a Special Officer. I graduated from the Vermont State Part-time Police Academy in 1999 and I am fortunate to have been trained by the Vermont State Police and under Howie.

Howieretired as First Constable and I was elected as 2nd Constable. I have been responsible for and involved in many different cases involving; Assault cases, DUI enforcement, motor vehicle accidents, lost persons complaints, citizen assist cases, civil process, traffic enforcement and control, VIN verification and budgeting.


I am proposing that the Town of Killington proceed with the formation of a Police Department and move away from the traditional Constable Department. In light of what is going on around us and what we see in the papers every day, it is time to do so. This is something I touched on during my budget presentation over a month ago and I have heard nothing but support since.

The Constable Department has worked for us for many years, but I feel that now we could be falling behind the times and need to play catch-up. Many people, both in and out of Town, agree that the Constable form of policing is an outdated way of running our police services. We need every possible tool to help combat criminal activity and to keep it from happening in the first place. Now is the time to make this change.  

This is a non-political action and a very positive step for our community and should be fully supported by the citizens, the businesses and the Select Board of Killington, many of whom I have spoken with and from whom I know I have support. This concept is also supported by Lieutenant Cacciatore, of the V.S.P., Jim Barlow of V.L.C.T, as well as other State and Federal personnel. It is a very easy process and will not cause an increase in the police budget that I proposed over a month ago.

proposal continued
Proposal Continued
  • A Police Department will be easier for the community to have ownership in the official entity.
  • We will be notified when other Agencies are in Town and will have better communication with them
  • We will be included when programs take place in Town, such as Click-it or Ticket; S.T.A.R.T., DUI checkpoints, other investigations. People will see our local officers and cruisers actively involved during these activities.
  • Elected Constables are unregulated to a great degree, leading to concern from a liability extent for the Town and its taxpayers.
  • A Police Department will be easier to regulate: the Chief will run operations but the Town will have the authority to hire and fire new officers.
  • There will be State generated case #'s, which will make the crime statistics more accurate for the State and the Town and will also allow different agencies to work more efficiently together when both are involved with the same case ( i.e. burglaries)
  • We will have better access to grants and funding opportunities
proposal continued1
Proposal Continued
  • We will have better access to classes and training
  • We will see increased officer safety, by having better and more thorough access to peoples' criminal history. This is vital during routine traffic stops and criminal and civil cases.
  • The State-wide authority lessens liability if a stop is made in an adjoining Town. Criminals do not restrict themselves and their activities to just one Town. Investigations may require entering a neighboring Town.
  • There is a chain of command vested with police. There is no chain of command with a Constable and potentially no accountability. 

Again, this will not and does not increase the budget I proposed about a month ago.

With the above reasons I ask the selectmen to take action and move forward with the formation of a Police Department, which can start now.

proposed article
Proposed Article

With the adoption of a Town Police Department, the responsibility of the Town Constable will change. The Constable will be used in more of a traditional manner under State Statutes.

Now with the Law Enforcement responsibilities falling within the Police Department the Town Constable should be an appointed position.  

The Constables are different than, let’s say; Board of Selectmen, Listers, Weighers of the Coal, Fence Viewers or other elected positions in town. There should be a different process for filling the Constable position. The Constable Department must be able to work together and cannot have internal conflict or disagreements. Since the Constables are independent of each other you cannot have one Constable acting and saying one thing and another Constable saying and acting another way or one Constable trying to undermine another. The Constable must be 100 percent free of politics. With this said, there should be a different process for the Constable position. It only makes sense to shift to one Constable (State statute requires one Constable) and have that position be appointed by the Selectmen based on merit, reputation and experience. This appointment can be granted with full or minimal law enforcement authority.

proposed article continued
Proposed Article Continued

With this said I propose we add an article onto the March ballot that reads:

Article __. Shall the Town vote to authorize the Selectboard to appoint a first constable, and if needed a second constable, in accordance with 17 V.S.A. 2651a(a).  

If passed, this will eliminate the possibility of politics entering the Town’s police structure. I truly feel law enforcement should not be asking for votes. I feel this can lead to corruption, selective enforcement, bullying and invites politics into law enforcement, where it should have no place. The Constable is not a position of power, it is about responsibility and maturity to act wisely in potentially serious/dangerous situations. This is why I am proposing and supporting the Article.


The Killington Constable/Police Department faces unique challenges presented by:

  • its major seasonal population shifts, from 1,000 to as many as 15,000
  • the diversity of the population in both age and with people from all over the country and world visiting us
  • its proximity to Route 4, a major New England traffic corridor
  • and its interdependence on the Killington ski resort and the mountainous terrain

I believe that resort policing requires a unique perspective, understanding and philosophy, relying heavily on community oriented policing techniques and a focus on customer service.

Our commitments to the community are reflected in our mission, vision and values. We are an agency whose purpose is to fulfill the law enforcement needs of the people with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity, and to protect the inherent rights of the people to live in freedom and safety. All within a reasonable budget.

  • With the increase in drug abuse and crime in our surrounding cities and towns and the slumping economy, it is important to be as vigilant as ever before to minimize the impact of these issues in our community and neighborhoods.
  • As these affected communities start to crack down, and they have, the bad element will start branching out and start going to the towns of least resistance.
  • We do not want our town to be one of these communities.
  • We have already seen symptoms of this with increases in copper thefts from residence houses, gas thefts, golf course break ins, certain contacts made during routine traffic stops (to include firearms and drugs), recent Federal drug task force activity around and a strong armed burglary/assault case.
  • The trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs destroys neighborhoods, contributes to violence and victimization, and often ruins the lives of drug users and their families.
proactive solutions
Proactive Solutions
  • To help combat some of these issues facing our community I am proposing to introduce the following programs over the next year and to continue and add to, the positive steps we have taken in the past.
  • I’m a firm believer in Community Oriented Policing and to being as proactive, not reactive as much as possible.
  • Community Oriented Policing (COP) is a joint venture that brings together the police and the community in an attempt to solve neighborhood problems, quality of life issues and prevent crime.
there are four aspects to cop
There are four aspects to COP:
  • Police Officers become a part of the town. This helps police get a better sense of citizen’s needs and helps residents get to know each peace officer on an individual basis.
  • A commitment to improving the neighborhood you live in. Police officers ask residents for aid in solving community problems.
  • Teamwork between citizens and the police. Moving away from an “US vs. THEM” attitude into a more effective relationship where officers depend on residents for help.
  • Residents assist police and together achieve the common goal of a safer neighborhood. This means reporting crimes as they occur. Hear It, See It, Report It!

Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.

community policing is comprised of key components
Community Policing is comprised of key components:
  • Community PartnershipsCollaborative partnerships between the law enforcement agency and the individuals and organizations they serve to develop solutions to problems and increase trust in police.
  • Included are:
    • Other Government Agencies
    • Community Members/Groups
    • Nonprofits/Service Providers
    • Private Businesses
    • Media
1 neighborhood watch
1. Neighborhood Watch

I initiated a Neighborhood Watch program a number of years ago in Killington which was largely successful. I will encourage my fellow residents and vacation homeowners to re-engage in this worthy program and will support their efforts.

  • Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country, bringing citizens together with law enforcement to deter crime and make communities safer.
  • Benefits of having a Neighborhood Watch
    • Improved livability.
    • A team concept of neighbors working together.
    • Knowing your neighbors and looking out for one another.
    • Improved home security.
    • A partnership with the Constable office.
    • A monthly Neighborhood Watch Newsletter and or meeting
2 an education program with the elementary school children
2. An education program with the elementary school children

Creating a safe place where children can learn and grow depends on a partnership among students, parents, teachers, as well as other community institutions.

  • Prevent Bullying campaign
  • Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program
  • Good Citizens Program
    • Settle arguments with words, not fists or weapons.
    • Report crimes or suspicious activity to the police, school authorities or parents.
    • Know good places to seek help.
    • Get involved in your school's anti-violence activities.
3 senior citizen education
3. Senior Citizen Education

Senior citizen crime prevention and post victimization programs. This program focuses on senior citizen trends with regards to crime waves against seniors, as the percentage of seniors in our Killington population grows. Specific initiatives are implemented to supplement and help seniors overcome fear of crime that may target them, while arming them with effective strategies to help prevent things such as telemarketing fraud, identity theft, home security and elder abuse.

4 killington search and rescue
4. Killington Search And Rescue

I am the co-Organizer of Killington Search and Rescue (KSAR) with Bob Giolito. KSAR is a voluntary search and rescue organization, made up of individuals highly skilled and experienced in backcountry and mountain rescue situations. KSAR is committed to assist state and local agencies under the direction of the Killington Constable. Capabilities include: backcountry rescue; wilderness search; and assisting other agencies with mountain rescue. KSAR members are comprised of ski patrollers, wilderness first responders, and wilderness EMTs. KSAR does not charge for its services, relying on funding from voluntary contributions and grants.

“ Ninety five percent of Vermont searches could end successfully within the first 12 hours or less if we respond immediately with trained, experienced management knowledgeable in lost person interviewing and authorized to immediately activate and field specialized hasty response resources. Costs in time, human resources, money, and of course the subject’s life rise rapidly after the first 12 hour shift.”- Lieutenant Jocelyn R. Stohl –Vermont State Police Retired

5 police on skis program
5. Police on Skis Program
  • Partner with the Resort and create a visual deterrence program to help deter:
    • theft
    • out of bounds skiing
    • any other issues that have been determined
community concerns
Community Concerns

As we are all aware, there are some major issues in some of the communities around us, including illegal drug abuse and burglaries. We have already seen a Federal Drug Task Force operating in our Town. We need to draw a line in the sand coming into our town. Once these unsavory individuals and influences are pushed out of other communities they will go to the path of least resistance. We do not want to be that path of least resistance. I will target this with a multi-pronged approach, which includes:

  • Implement the Community Oriented Policing (which I just spoke about)
  • Continue and enhance our working relationship with state and federal agencies.
  • Targeted patrol days and times depending on the season. This will be a better use of our budget funds and put resources where and when they are needed. Our focus changes on the season days of the week.
  • Will continue to have a positive working relationship with both citizens and business. Understand the importance of not being overzealous, yet at the same time keeping both visitors and community members safe.
community concerns continued
Community Concerns (continued)
  • Will hire two already certified officers. These officers will need to have the right personality and mentality as well as have years of experience. Killington is a unique area to work in due to the vast make up of businesses, visitors and seasons. The population swells up to 15,000 people on a busy weekend. With the new focus on bringing back the customer base and what is happening around us with crime, we need to be prepared and proactive for that.
  • To work in Killington as a police officer, you need to be able to think on your feet, be able to calm a situation down just by talking to those involved (verbal judo) and know what situations require back up. In rural communities such as here many times back up is more than 20 min away. This can be an extreme officer safety issue with 15,000 people here and only one officer to deal with potential issues/complaints. I’ve done it for years and you need other officers with the proper mind set. This will require to pay a fair rate.

I also believe in positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement, as much as can be possible in law enforcement. Examples of each include:

  • Proactive:
    • Community oriented policing model
    • Security checks- gas thefts, open doors, out of place vehicles.
    • Security patrols-being seen on back roads to act as a visual deterrence to criminal activity.
    • Work with local businesses to do door checks-provides a visual deterrence to help persuade later issues.
    • Radar cart and traffic speed signs. Friendly reminder of speed and to slow down
    • Verbal and written warnings for infractions
  • Reactive:
    • Traffic tickets (negative reinforcement)
    • Arrests(negative reinforcement)
    • Theft follow ups

Responsibilities for the next fiscal year will include:

  • interact with various other city departments in their day-to-day jobs
  • work closely with fire department to provide emergency services, as well as with public works
  • attend selectman and town management meetings to report about issues and events related to our department
  • responsible for ensuring that the department's police cruisers and other equipment are in good working order and coordinating other departmental assets
  • set the mission and direction for the Constable department and establishes its goals
  • managing the departmental operations and budget
  • patrol, traffic control
  • responding to calls for service
  • investigating traffic accidents and criminal offenses
  • issuing citations and warnings
  • DUI investigation and arrest
  • serving civil process
  • making physical custody arrests with and without a warrant
2013 continued
2013 (continued)
  • transporting prisoners
  • testifying in court and before administrative bodies,
  • making application for search warrants and arrest warrants,
  • taking juveniles, intoxicated, or mentally ill persons into protective custody,
  • writing investigative reports,
  • responding to citizen inquiries,
  • taking fingerprints of arrested persons, searching for latent fingerprints,
  • searching for and collecting physical evidence at crime and accident scenes,
  • performing various rescue and lifesaving tasks,
  • participating in raids and high-risk warrant services,
  • controlling violent or resisting subjects,
  • apprehending fleeing suspects on foot or in a motor vehicle,
  • VIN verification,
  • and participating in strenuous and physically demanding basic and in-serve training programs.
  • retaining my ability to think and act in a calm manner under physically demanding and emotional stressful situations.
looking forward
Looking Forward


  • Transition from a Constable Department to a Police Department
  • Implementation of the community oriented style of policing.
  • Develop and implement the above stated ideas.
  • Hiring of already trained and certified officers, with experience. These officers will work scheduled hours and days to coincide with business times. This will be a more effective use of budgetary funds.
  • The Killington Police Dept. will be a part time law enforcement organization, responsible for 43 linear miles of roads, 3,043 tax accounts and up to 16,000 people on a busy weekend (winter/summer). We will be able to accomplish our purpose on a reasonable budget and at a large savings to the tax payers.

Thoughts on Revenue:

  • Police departments, by nature, are not revenue drivers, nor should they be so considered. The monies that do come in are usually generated through tickets, civil process and municipal ordinances, all of which are not consistent and include too many different variables. I do feel if measures are put into place during specific targeted times then we could see an increase in ticket revenue.