Criminal Justice & Public Safety

The home for VPR's coverage of criminal justice and public safety issues across the state.

The Criminal Justice & Public Safety Team

Follow VPR reporters Liam Elder-Connors and Emily Corwin on Twitter for the latest on issues of criminal justice and public safety across the state. 
 

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below
Opioid Addiction | Guns | Marijuana | EB-5 | Vermont Supreme Court | Vermont Department Of Corrections

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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.

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.

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.

Greg Tatro holds a picture of his daughter, Jenna, who died of an opioid overdose in February. In the foreground are piles of sympathy cards he and his wife have received.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

For six years, Greg and Dawn Tatro watched their daughter struggle with an opioid addiction. Then in February, Jenna Tatro died at age 26 in their home in Johnson. Now her parents hope to create a community-based recovery center to help others fight addiction.

After more than half a century, New Hampshire’s oldest cold case homicide has been solved. The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office announced last month that the killer of a man named Everett Delano turns out to have been a Vermonter.

We're talking about the debate over life without parole in Vermont.
powerofforever / iStock

Life in prison with no chance of parole is the harshest punishment possible in Vermont. Some see it as a necessary sentence for the worst crimes, whiles others see it as an unforgiving punishment devoid of hope for rehabilitation. We're talking about what life without parole means for public safety, rehabilitation and deterrence, and for the cost of the justice system in Vermont.

Stevanovicigor / iStock

Over the course of what’s now adding up to nearly a lifetime in Vermont, I’ve enjoyed being active in various cultural, civic and business organizations, including the ACLU. And at times, I’ve been called upon to advise state leaders from college presidents to corrections officials. So it’s from this perspective that I say with considerable confidence that it’s time to close the South Burlington Women’s facility, or CRCF.

Vermonters receive an estimated 145,000 robocalls every day. We're looking at what's behind the rapidly increasing numbers of robocalls.
Kirillm / iStock

Vermonters gets an estimated 4.5 million robocalls each month. Calls from scammers and marketers to an 802 number have doubled in just the last two years. We're looking at what's behind the rise in robocalls and ways you can protect yourself from the flood of unwanted calls.

A sample driver's privilege card from the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. Losing the ability to drive can have far-reaching repercussions in Vermont.
Department of Motor Vehicles

Life in a rural state like Vermont can require a lot of driving, and a suspended driver’s license can be a significant hardship. But the demands of work, family and other obligations often mean that many still drive even when they're not supposed to. We're looking at what leads to a suspended license in Vermont and how getting a DLS charge can lead to more citations, larger fines and bigger trouble.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand an employer's ability to administer drug tests to employees.
sercansamanci / istock

Vermont's laws on workplace drug testing make it difficult to test employees after they're hired. Now lawmakers are considering a bill expanding an employer's ability to test workers suspected of being under the influence on the job, or if they cause an accident. We're looking at Vermont's existing drug testing laws, the proposed changes and what it means for workers and employers.

Lyndon Institute. In January, a 16-year reportedly made threats towards Lyndon Institute. Police investigated and at this time no criminal charges are filed.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

The Vermont State Police started tracking school threats after an averted school shooting in Fair Haven last year. Since August 2018, 35 threats have been reported across the state.

That’s more than one school threat a week since the beginning of the academic year. Of those reported, VPR has learned that only 10 resulted in prosecutors filing charges.

The January 2017 women's march in Montpelier was followed by what organizers called a Unity Rally on the steps of the Statehouse. The march addressed issues like racism and civil rights.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The Vermont Human Rights Commission is a state agency whose sole mission is to protect and preserve the human rights of Vermonters. The small agency—just three investigators, an executive director and an executive assistant—works on discrimination in housing, state government, employment and in public spaces like schools and restaurants. Now the Commission's new executive director is pledging to take a more proactive approach to fighting discrimination. 

EMT Andy Luce, left, and Cabot Select Board Chair Michael Hogan, right, stand with the town ambulance, housed at the Cabot Fire Department. The town's emergency ambulance service will stop transporting patients in June.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A lot of Vermont’s emergency medical services are on life support thanks to declining volunteers and increasing costs. For some, time has run out.

Attorney General TJ Donovan announced the results of the investigation into the alleged racial harassment of former state Rep.  Kiah Morris on Januart 14, 2019.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Local branches of the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union are calling on state officials to investigate the Bennington Police Department.

Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux swears in a room full of deputies.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A shortage of mental health treatment beds in Vermont has forced hospital emergency rooms to provide unprecedented levels of psychiatric care in recent years. Many of those ERs have used sheriff’s deputies to supervise violent or disruptive patients, but officials now say that practice runs afoul of federal regulations.

Greene

I was dismayed but not surprised to see the third Women’s March on Washington fracture over political differences. With accusations of anti-Semitism and other biases flying, women opted out of the march in droves.

Tom E. Puskar / Associated Press

I’ve always been puzzled by the anti-vaccine movement. As a former health care reporter in Maine and Vermont, I interviewed parents who declined to immunize their children. They struck me as generally well-meaning but misinformed when they insisted that the health risks of vaccinations outweighed the benefits, even when faced with scientific evidence to the contrary.

A 20-year veteran of the Burlington Police Department was arraigned Monday in Addison County on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child.

Brian Schwartz in his Green Mountain Technology and Career Center classroom surrounded by firefighting gear.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A shipping container filled with firefighting gear and school supplies from Vermont will soon make its way to Tanzania. It’s the result of a high school service learning trip last summer.

Hy Edelstein

A couple months ago, I clicked on one of those listicles you see online. In this case, it was something like 10 things you didn’t know about the 1960’s TV show – Bewitched.

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