Liam Elder-Connors

Reporter

Liam is VPR's reporter covering Burlington and Chittenden County.

He also serves as an occasional fill-in host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Liam  joined VPR in 2015 as a board operator, announcer and producer before spending a year as the Morning Edition producer.  Before switching to full-time reporting in 2018, he was the All Things Considered producer and editor.

Liam graduated from St. Michael's College in 2014 with a degree in journalism and music.

Ways to Connect

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo, left, and Deputy Chief of Operations Jon Murad speak at a press conference Wednesday in Burlington.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

The Burlington City Council voted last week to create a special committee examining law enforcement policy following several incidents in which officers allegedly used excessive force.

A police car flashes its blue lights.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Police in Vermont’s largest city face scrutiny following several incidents in which officers allegedly used excessive force.

First, there were questions about a case in which a man died a few days after getting into a fight with a Burlington cop. Then there were two men — both of whom were black — who filed federal lawsuits following their encounters with the department, which were caught on tape. City leaders and residents have since called for reform, including some activists who are taking oversight into their own hands.

The exterior of the Edward J Costello Courthouse building, facing the front doors
Emily Corwin / VPR

Following the recent dismissal of three pending cases by the Chittenden County State's Attorney, Gov. Phil Scott is asking Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan to intervene.

An officer wearing a body camera. Vermont State Police don't have body cameras for all its troopers, though the agency says it wants them. VSP says it still needs to figure out the funding for the program before it can get cameras.
Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

Recently released body camera footage in Burlington showed police allegedly using excessive force against two black men. The videos sparked public outcry and calls for police reform.

Body cameras have been seen as a way to bring accountability and transparency to law enforcement. In Vermont, 31 agencies have body cameras, according to the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. But the state’s largest police force, the Vermont State Police, still doesn’t outfit all their troopers with the devices.

It was sunny and cold on Feb. 13, 2018, when 18-year-old Jack Sawyer walked out of Dick's Sporting Goods in Rutland, Vt., with a brand-new pump-action shotgun and four boxes of ammunition.

The next day, Valentine's Day, Sawyer took his new gun out for target practice.

Around the same time, about 1,500 miles away in Parkland, Fla., a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally in Montpelier. People hold Bernie signs behind where he stands at a podium.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Months after announcing his second presidential bid, Sen. Bernie Sanders held his first Vermont rally on the steps of the state capitol on Saturday.

City officials estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people attended the rally.

A sign for PeakCM construction with an illustration of a proposed AnC bio building.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

A federal grand jury has filed criminal charges against former Jay Peak developers Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger and two other men, more three years after regulators unmasked their "Ponzi-like" investment scheme.

Attorney General TJ Donovan announcing the lawsuit at a press conference on Tuesday. The state is suing eight members of the Sackler family.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chittenden County Superior Court alleges the family that owns Purdue Pharma played a direct role in Vermont's opioid crisis.

A Vermont Department for Children and Families call center.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

In 2015, then-Gov. Peter Shumlin announced a plan to invest millions of dollars in Vermont's child-protection system. One of the main goals was to reduce caseloads for social workers in the Department for Children and Families. Now, nearly three years later, are caseloads any lower?

The interior of the VPR talk studio with a microphone, chair and VPR logo on the wall.
Meg Malone / VPR File

In early February, a first-year student at the University of Vermont died after passing out in a snowbank. Connor Gage attended two frat parties the night of his death. He died of hypothermia and acute alcohol intoxication.

UVM. In early February, UVM first-year Connor Gage was found dead in Burlington. He attended two frat parties on the night of his death and died of hypothermia and acute alcohol intoxication. UVM is still investigating the two frats he visited.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

In early February, a first-year student at the University of Vermont died after passing out in a snowbank. Connor Gage attended two frat parties the night of his death, police said. He died of hypothermia and acute alcohol intoxication, police said.

UVM quickly suspended all fraternity activity and started an investigation.

The site of where a new mall is set to be built in downtown Burlington.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

The developers of Burlington’s downtown mall won’t say when construction on the much-delayed project will begin, but sought to reassure city councilors Monday night that they are making progress.

Burlington City Hall on a winter afternoon with the U.S. and city flags blowing in wind.
Meg Malone / VPR File

Investigations are ongoing into the death of 54-year-old Burlington resident Douglas Kilburn, who died in March just a few days after he was in an altercation with a city police officer. In that encounter, Kilburn was punched in the face by Officer Cory Campbell outside UVM Medical Center. 

Exterior of the Vermont Supreme Court.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Vermont's highest court heard arguments Wednesday over whether Burlington Police can charge a fee to someone who wants to look at body camera footage.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo, left, and Deputy Chief of Operations Jon Murad speak at a press conference Wednesday in Burlington.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Vermont's chief medical examiner has ruled 54-year-old Douglas Kilburn's death was a homicide, but could not identify a specific cause of death.

Kilburn's death certificate — released Wednesday — lists several contributing factors, including cardiac disease, obesity, diabetes, as well as skull fractures from an impact. Three days before Kilburn was found dead, the Burlington man was in an altercation with police outside UVM Medical Center. 

Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Colchester is the state's only locked facility for kids. A lawsuit alleges staffers used "dangerous and pain restraint" techniques at the facility.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

The Defender General’s Office has sued Vermont’s only juvenile detention facility, accusing staffers of using “dangerous and painful restraint” techniques and other disciplinary methods that run afoul of common standards.

(L to R) Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger swears in the four councilor elected last month. Incumbent Democrat Joan Shannon was re-elected and Democrat  Franklin Paulino and Progressives Jack Hanson and Perri Freeman are starting their first terms.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

A third party is gaining political clout in Vermont’s largest city. The Progressive Party scored two wins on Town Meeting Day, giving them nearly half the seats on the City Council, and pushing famously liberal Burlington even farther to the left.

Now, with a stronger coalition, Progressives see an opportunity to push their agenda on topics like climate change.

Quebec City skyline
Vladone / iStockphoto.com

Lawmakers in Quebec are considering a law that would ban public employees from wearing religious symbols at work.

Jack Sawyer sits in Rutland criminal court on Wednesday, April 25.
Robert Layman / Rutland Herald / Pool

Jack Sawyer, the Poultney teenager accused of plotting a shooting at Fair Haven Union High School, was deemed a youthful offender Friday for the offense of carrying a dangerous weapon.

Nina Keck / VPR

Voters held annual Town Meetings across the state yesterday, making decisions on town and school budgets, select board races and a whole host of local issues.

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