Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police Urges Legislature to Fund Statewide Racial Bias Study

Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police
PO Box 9494
South Burlington, VT 05407

For Immediate Release

Monday, Feb. 25, 2019

News Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected] 

Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police Urges Legislature to Fund Statewide Racial Bias Study

HINESBURG, Vt. — The Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police (VACOP) is today encouraging the Vermont State Legislature to fund a statewide study of all law enforcement agencies to accurately collect data and offer authoritative conclusions on racial bias during traffic stops.

The VACOP’s call for a new study comes in the wake of conflicting reports that have been published in recent years on racial bias during traffic stops in Vermont.

In Jan. 2017, a report titled “Driving While Black and Brown in Vermont” was published by University of Vermont and Cornell University professors. The report gave several conclusions suggesting there was significant racial bias exhibited by law enforcement during traffic stops in Vermont.

Then in the past few weeks, a report published by the Crime Research Group not only highlights vastly different conclusions about racial bias during traffic stops in Bennington, but also asserts that the conclusions from the 2017 study are “questionable” due to “data issues” and “incorrect methodology.” Additional police departments have volunteered to participate in CRG’s study to test appropriate methodologies in Vermont.

Both studies were spurred by Act 193, which was passed by the Legislature in 2014 and mandates that law enforcement groups in Vermont collect data on all traffic stops, including the race of the driver.

The VACOP is urging support for this call for an independent, holistic, state-funded study.

“Bias in law enforcement is a serious national concern and is of the utmost importance to each and every police chief in Vermont,” said Hinesburg Police Chief Frank Koss, the VACOP president. “Our association urges the Legislature to fund the definitive, independent study of the data so that police and citizens alike can have a report that will help us move forward and guide the ongoing conversation about police anti-bias training.”

ABOUT THE VERMONT CHIEFS OF POLICE ASSOCIATION:

The Vermont Chiefs of Police Association strives for the highest degree of respect for and maintenance of law and order through partnership and cooperation not only among law enforcement agencies but among community stakeholders. The general nature and object of the VACOP is to encourage closer cooperation of all law enforcement agencies in seeking the detection and prevention of crime, the apprehension and prosecution of criminals, and exchange and dissemination of information as well as to encourage and assist in the enlightenment and education of the general public to understand and better partner with law enforcement. The association also advocates for and sponsors police training at the cadet level and throughout the career of a law enforcement officer.

VACOP also advocates for legislation for the protection of those we serve and the advancement and welfare of the police profession.

###