The Vermont Criminal Justice Council, born out of the predecessor Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council, was established in December 2020 by the Vermont General Assembly to begin reformation of the police profession. The ethnically and racially diverse twenty-four member Council includes representatives of crime victims’ and racial justice advocacy organizations, the mental health community, the Vermont Human Rights Commission, members of the public, departments of state government, and law enforcement organizations. The Council commenced operations in January 2021.
The Council elected to release the following statement:
Derek Chauvin’s conviction in the murder of George Floyd, as well as numerous examples of police brutality against people of color in the recent past, weigh heavily on the Vermont Criminal Justice Council. The Council bears critical responsibilities surrounding law enforcement training, culture, policy, and accountability. It is important that police reconcile and repair relationships as members of their communities. In particular, leaders must continue to respect the humanity of those who have been harmed as well as those who commit to doing the work.
The Council serves as the leading edge of policing in Vermont. We are responsible for training, as well as the cultivation and shaping of culture for current and prospective law enforcement. We are taking actions to transform law enforcement in Vermont through our newly formed committees on professional regulation and hiring standards, as well as renewed commitment to fair and impartial policing, training curriculum development, and reimagination of staffing and resources. It is our vision that instances of police brutality and misconduct will not occur in Vermont.
We welcome all people to join us in our commitment not just to implement policies and training, but also to develop a culture that protects and embraces communities in Vermont, including those that have been historically marginalized.
Council Chair William Sorrell
Council co-Vice Chair Xusana Davis
Council co-Vice Chair Mark Anderson
Executive Director Heather Simons