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State Law-Enforcement Agencies Fine-Tune Operational Protocols to Enhance Public Safety

MONTPELIER, Vermont (Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022) — The state agencies and departments with law-enforcement responsibilities are taking new steps to enhance public safety by maximizing response capacity.

The departments of Public Safety, Fish and Wildlife, Liquor and Lottery, and Motor Vehicles are strengthening existing enforcement-focused partnerships and improving day-to-day coordination and operational efficiency to focus on addressing violent crime and preventing fatal crashes on Vermont’s roads.

The four departmental law-enforcement agencies are the Vermont State Police; the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Warden Service Division; Department of Liquor and Lottery’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement; and the Enforcement and Safety Division of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Although each law-enforcement agency wears a different uniform and reports through a different chain of command, public safety officials remind Vermonters that they all have the same statutory authority to enforce the laws of Vermont throughout the state.

Strengthening the partnership between state law-enforcement agencies allows each agency to better share intelligence, data and resources in service of the state’s public safety priorities. The stepped-up state-level collaboration is in addition to increased coordination with federal law enforcement partners and part of Gov. Phil Scott’s 10-point public safety enhancement and violence prevention action plan.

“Like every sector, as the state’s population continues to age and the workforce gets smaller, many state and local law-enforcement agencies across Vermont face hiring and retention challenges,” Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison said. “At the same time, there are increases in criminal activity that need to be addressed, and this is going to require creative solutions and coordination that optimizes our operational capacity.”

ONGOING OPERATIONAL COORDINATION IS KEY
To ensure ongoing coordination and a nimble response to public safety needs statewide, Governor Scott has directed department leaders to meet weekly to coordinate operations, develop specific metrics for measuring the impact of changes, and to adjust, as needed, to prioritize efforts and respond to conditions on the ground.

“I’ve asked the departments to find more ways to coordinate law-enforcement efforts and strengthen the state’s data-driven, intelligence-based response to crime,” Governor Scott said. “While the law enforcement entities in these agencies and departments have long-worked together and intersected on multiple cases and investigations, more clearly defined areas of operational responsibility will help support response capacity statewide.”

In the near term, as the State works to hire more law enforcement officers, these operational modifications will support law enforcement capacity to respond to the most pressing and urgent public safety needs. And for the longer term, these efforts are a first step in what the Governor expects to be continuous improvement in the level of coordination and collaboration between state law enforcement assets.

Specifically:

• DLL’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement will conduct follow-up investigations on all alcohol-related crashes involving liquor licenses, handle all enforcement concerns of the Cannabis Control Board when it needs law enforcement support, and investigate unemployment benefits fraud cases for the Department of Labor.
• DMV’s Enforcement and Safety Division will handle all crashes involving commercial vehicles and provide a higher-profile presence on highways and state routes. DMV Inspectors will continue to support federal, state, and municipal law enforcement partners with emergency response and investigative assistance.
• Fish and Wildlife’s Warden Service Division will handle all accidental hunting-related shootings, provide primary response for patrols and investigations on state land (including access areas, state parks, and Wildlife Management Areas), and conduct all animal cruelty investigations
• The Vermont State Police will continue to conduct statewide criminal investigations and use increased capacity created by these clarified areas of responsibility to help sustain community patrols and response, and the statewide focus on addressing violent crime, drug-related incidents, and domestic violence.

STATEMENTS FROM AGENCY/DEPARTMENT EXECUTIVES
“Our dedicated Enforcement and Safety team at the Department of Motor Vehicles are experts in their field and will work tirelessly to ensure the safety of all travelers on our state highway system and are eager to do their part help expand the State’s capacity to address pressing public safety concerns,” Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn said.

“Public safety is at the core of our mission,” said Wendy Knight, commissioner of the Department of Liquor and Lottery. “DLL’s talented team of law-enforcement officers is committed to applying their investigative skills in this statewide, collaborative initiative to ensure the safety of Vermont communities.”

“The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is committed to doing its part for the public safety of all Vermonters,” Commissioner Christopher Herrick said. “While taking on expanded roles in some aspects of this collaboration, the department’s game wardens will continue to protect Vermont’s natural resources and be available as back up for all other law enforcement officers. We are all very proud to be part of this team effort.”

ABOUT THE GOVERNOR’S 10-POINT PUBLIC SAFETY ACTION PLAN
On August 17, Governor Scott issued a 10-point public safety enhancement and violence prevention action plan, laying out the framework of a comprehensive response to address violent crime and other public safety concerns across the state. Click here for more information.

MEDIA CONTACTS
Members of the media may request interviews by emailing the following contacts at each agency and department:
• Agency of Transportation: Amy Tatko, director of communications and public outreach — amy.tatko@vermont.gov.
• Department of Liquor and Lottery: Jacqueline Posley, communications & legislative liaison — jacqueline.posley@vermont.gov.
• Department of Fish and Wildlife: Joshua Morse, public information officer — joshua.morse@vermont.gov.
• Department of Public Safety: Adam Silverman, public information officer, Vermont State Police — adam.silverman@vermont.gov.