Reimagine Policing Campaign
We have an opportunity and a responsibility to reimagine the role of police in our communities. Through thoughtful, evidence-driven reforms, we can enable everyone who calls Vermont home to feel safer in their communities, advance racial justice across the state, and continue to create a better Vermont for all.
Reimagining policing in Vermont requires advancing reforms that largely fall into one of two categories: proposals that reduce unnecessary interactions with law enforcement, and those that strengthen police accountability and oversight.
There are myriad ways to limit unnecessary interactions between community members and the police. They include:
- Limiting unnecessary traffic stops for offenses that do not threaten the safety of others, such as having a broken taillight or an expired registration sticker. Vermont drivers are overpoliced, with data showing that on average, they are stopped at 3x the national average – which is compounded for Black and Brown drivers, who are 4x more likely to be stopped by Vermont police than white drivers. Criminalizing motorists for maintenance-related offenses unfairly harms people with lower incomes.
- Amending disorderly conduct law to ensure that Vermonters are not unconstitutionally targeted by police, or unfairly penalized, for actions that do not threaten the safety of others – such as loitering, panhandling, or talking back to a police officer.
- Eliminating armed police officers from schools because they disproportionately harm disabled students and students of color and do not improve school safety.
It is also critical to enhance accountability measures for police. Among other key reforms, the legislature should act this session to:
- Empower communities to develop meaningful community control of policing boards that oversee and provide accountability for law enforcement.
- End the unjust doctrine of qualified immunity that can bar victims of police misconduct from getting their day in court.
- Create a statewide Brady Letter database to ensure the public knows if law enforcement officers have engaged in conduct that shows them to be untrustworthy.
Make your voice heard by signing this petition. Urge your lawmakers to support legislation that limits unnecessary interactions between community members and police and holds law enforcement accountable for their actions. Together, we can imagine a future where everyone feels a sense of security and belonging in our communities.