Killington Constable Restructuring. 2013 Police Department Proposal. Introduction / History.
2013 Police Department Proposal
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 Many people, both in and out of Town, agree that the Constable form of policing is an outdated way of running our police services.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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Creating a safe place where children can learn and grow depends on a partnership among students, parents, teachers, as well as other community institutions.
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.
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
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:
I also believe in positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement, as much as can be possible in law enforcement. Examples of each include:
Responsibilities for the next fiscal year will include:
Thoughts on Revenue: