Chief @Brian Peete's holiday message to our community: "As the end of 2021 approaches, the Montpelier Police Department (MPD) would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season. We also want to express our admiration for the resilience, collaboration, and support of the Montpelier community in some of the most trying of times of any generation. We are continuously inspired by you and hope to continue to be a valued part of what makes our city great. I would like to provide everyone with several of the accomplishments and implementations MPD, and our partner agencies and stakeholders have incorporated in the last year and a half. I also would like to touch on a few future strategic objectives. On May 25, 2020, the entire country witnessed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a police officer. This prompted widespread inquiry and sweeping demands upon the policing profession and police accountability. MPD has a storied history of having been responsive to the expectations of its community, and I would argue the department has been at the forefront of all police agencies in demonstrating what it means to be accountable to its community; primarily measured in working hard to ensure mutual respect and the preservation of dignity for each person we meet. The City Council commissioned a Police Review Committee (PRC) which performed a deep and assertive dive into law enforcement best practices and compared them with the policies, patterns, and practices of MPD. These officials and volunteers spent countless hours researching statistics, interviewing numerous partner and stakeholder agencies, and members of the department and our community. The PRC’s findings will pave the way to further progress MPD’s strategic initiatives and will serve as our springboard as we work to strengthen our ties with our community to regain any lost trust and legitimacy during this most challenging moment in history. On January 6, 2021, the entire country witnessed a mob lay siege to the U.S. Capitol, prompting extremist elements to push for armed protests at each state capitol in the U.S. to include our city of Montpelier. The Washington County State Attorney led the coordination of a joint law enforcement response plan for Washington County. Planning to safeguard the State Capitol included Capitol Police and MPD, as well as several departments from other parts of the state which included the Montpelier Fire Department, and police departments from Bennington, Burlington, Colchester, Newport, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, and Shelburne. We also coordinated with Buildings and General Services (BGS) and Judicial Safety and Security, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Vermont State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Marshals, and especially former U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan and her office. As a result, comprehensive security, response, and contingency plans were made and Vermont saw no incidents at the Capitol or within our City on neither January 17th nor January 20th. Going forward, we are working closely with Rory Thibault, the Washington County State Attorney in the implementation of our Department’s Use of Force procedures (which stems from S. 119, H. 145, and E.O. 03-20), researching and recommending modern physical control concepts that eliminate positional asphyxia, procedures and investigation protocols to threats against elected officials, combating human and narcotics trafficking using trauma informed practices, treatment options for those suffering from substance abuse without introduction into the criminal justice system, and the implementation of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program with crisis intervention training for police officers and first responders in all of Vermont. MPD has secured several grants which led to recent purchases for barriers that mitigate vehicle attacks on crowds and critical infrastructure, security upgrades at city facilities, and a virtual reality training system for its staff. We have partnered with Benchmark Analytics and Officer Survey to develop accountability and feedback systems, and incorporated community members into our promotion processes resulting in several new leaders with fresh ideas based in 21st Century Policing practices. MPD has also created a Community Resource Officer position to solicit continuous feedback from community members, which ensures that our priorities, policies, and how we serve are consistent with the expectations of the people we serve. We still have more work to do which includes playing our part in the City Council’s strategic agenda, upgrades to our communications system, and honoring our commitment to implement more solutions that strengthen our commitment to respecting and preserving of the sanctity of life in our interactions with the public. I want to thank our partners, our community, and especially the people of the Montpelier Police Department. The MPD family has honorably and faithfully served the needs of our community and performed exceptionally during periods of low morale and staffing challenges. I am so proud to be here working for them. As we go into 2022, we will bring with us an infectious optimism to showcase ourselves as the nation’s finest police force, and we ask you to join us on that journey. Our drive is to be a leading agency that exemplifies the type of proactive engagement and collaboration within the community that enhances trust, responsibly diverts cases from the traditional criminal justice system, and promotes the safe and vibrant community we all desire. The professionals of MPD are where this all starts – hiring and retaining people of character and moral courage is essential as we navigate our future together. Sincerely, Brian R. Peete Chief of Police, Montpelier VT"

Posted by mphilbrick at 2021-12-08 14:58:08 UTC