Open Letter to Legislature on Use of Force

To:  vermont-house-government-operations, vermont-senate-government-operations, vermont-house-judiciary, vermont-senate-judiciary, vermont-racial-justice-alliance-poc-steering-committee, Vermont-press-contacts, Tim, Becca, Mitzi, jkrowinski, Brian, Bor, Xusana

Madam Chair and House Government Operations Committee,

Madam Chair and House Government Operations Committee,
Thanks for the opportunity to testify on H.464 (Use of Force) last week.  This article on Vermont’s unprecedented levels of lethal use of force in VTDigger (yesterday) speaks of the challenges that we have as a State.  One thing is certain.  There is a problem.


Unfortunately, the data already tells us  a grim story.  The latest report from Burlington tells us that 21 percent (up from 18%, two years ago) of police force has been against African Americans and a full one-third of this force has been a weapon being pointed at a subject!  

Appropriate Use of Force, De-escalation and Cross-cultural Awareness Policy and Training

I implore you to please affirmatively move H.464 to mandate the statewide collection of use of force data, as recommended here by the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel.  Mandate a model policy as we have done with other important issues such as Fair and Impartial Policing and Internal Affairs. Standardize a training framework that mirrors the manner in which FIPP was deployed (academy, field block approach and in-service)  And ensure that community stakeholders are involved in the process. 


Please stop in and participate in our Legislative Series on February 27th at 5:30 PM, in Room 10 of the Statehouse. “Use Of Force:  How Much Is Enough” is a community forum and will provide insight on use of force in policing In Vermont and offer an opportunity to discuss solutions. The Legislative Series is created to provide a forum to educate community members and gain their perspectives while informing legislator’s decisions on policy.
My testimony is provided in this email.


Thank you for your service.


Racial Justice Alliance

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