Public Safety head says regional police forces needed

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(Host)  The head of Vermont’s public safety department says there’s merit to the idea of rural towns joining together to create regional police departments.

Commissioner Tom Tremblay was reacting to an idea put forward in an independent study of how to consolidate and improve Vermont’s various law enforcement services.

Speaking Monday on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Tremblay said a regional police force would alleviate some of the increasing pressure that the Vermont State Police are feeling from rural communities:

(Tremblay) "I think that regionalizing policing services is a very interesting recommendation. It makes, again, a lot of sense to explore this further. And it’ll allow the State Police to be there to provide support and specialized services, and be the agency that can come in and assist and help.  But also, the State Police, we don’t want to lose our rural policing routes."

(Host) The recommendation was one of several in an independent, outside study conducted by Public Safety Strategies Group. 

Among key findings was that there is some duplication of services among different law enforcement agencies – and a lack of communication among them.

The consultants recommended bringing state police, motor vehicle enforcement staff, liquor inspectors and game wardens together under one agency. Commissioner Tremblay said that idea made sense to him. 

The proposal to reorganize and consolidate law enforcement has some economic benefits as well. Kym Craven was one of the study’s authors:

(Craven) "But when you look at the consolidation process, there are opportunities for some of the staffing to be more streamlined.  There are some duplication of efforts going on within each of the agencies that, under one umbrella agency, it would be more streamlined and would be much more effective with the deployment of resources that you have within the state."

(Host) Tremblay says the study was thorough and independent. It now falls to the agencies that are affected by the proposed changes to examine the recommendations in detail.

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