Mandate Consistent Law Enforcement Use of Force Practices

Senate Judiciary and House Government Operations

Regarding S.119 and H.464

Mark Hughes
Racial Justice Alliance Coordinator
Justice For All Executive Director

Open Letter

March 5, 2019

Madam Chair and Mr Chairman,

Please take up S.119 or H.464 (Use of Force) as soon as possible.

Why would the legislature NOT immediately pass legislation that requires the collection of use of force race data, and the implementation of appropriate use of force, de-escalation and cross-cultural awareness policy and training?  Why is use of force training not an in-service requirement?

Statistical analysis supports the fact that the probability of use of force is directly proportional to the frequency and duration of contact with law enforcement.  Accordingly, disaggregated data from a use of force report released by the Burlington police department in 2017 indicated that African Americans were five times more likely to have force applied against them than whites.

Law enforcement professionalism, municipality risk management and fair and impartial policing discussions all triangulate on the consensus that this policy is best for Vermont in all ways! If we hope to truly be the state that attracts and retains a productive and diverse workforce, we must ensure that we address such vital issues as law enforcement use of force. Without it, we all loose.  Please coordinate the crossover of this important policy as soon as possible. 

Respectfully,

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