(The Center Square) – A plan to address violent crime and safety concerns in Vermont is now in place.
A 10-point public safety enhancement designed to supplement frontline law enforcement, expand prosecution capacity, and make long-term violence prevention a priority has been laid out by Gov. Phil Scott.
“Vermont is among the safest, healthiest states in the country, and that remains true today,” Scott said in a release. “But the fact is, a statewide workforce crisis, coupled with various social and public policy factors, have resulted in a spike in criminal activity and these trends are negatively impacting the public safety and welfare of the state. To address this, we need all our law enforcement organizations to work more closely together, get all our intelligence and data on the table, and face this head on.”
According to the release, the commissioner of Public Safety and other agencies and departments in Vermont have been directed by the governor to implement the plan.
Vermont State Police, according to the release, will have the ability and authority to support communities and police departments while also keeping track of high crime areas and violent spots.
Under the plan, according to the release, retired law enforcement officers will be hired, and the state police will be assisted by law enforcement officers from other state agencies.
As part of the plan, the attorney general’s office will be expanded in an effort to address a backlog of prosecuting major crimes, in addition to violent crimes involving drugs, human trafficking, and the courts have prioritized reducing its case backlog.
The state’s Public Safety agency, according to plan as outlined in the release, will widen the role of the Vermont Intelligence Center, and will work toward implementing interagency collaboration that would be similar to how state agencies worked together through the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Violence Prevention Task Force, according to the release, would be developed under the governor’s plan.
“We’ve shown that when we roll up our sleeves, knock down silos and work together with a clear and measurable goal, we can lead the nation in addressing challenges and protecting people,” Scott said in the release. “This framework will be key to remaining the safest state in the country with a criminal justice system that is fair and equal to all.”