Police Committee Minutes 9-18-2020

Police Committee 9-18-2020




The Police Committee of the Rutland Town Select Board met at 9:00 AM on Friday September 18th at the Rutland Town Municipal Town Hall. Present was Board Clerk Mary Ashcroft, Board Member Sharon Russell, Administrative Assistant Bill Sweet, Town Police Chief Ed Dumas, Town Deputy Police Chief Ted Washburn, Kevin Loso from the Rutland Housing Authority and Karl Anderson. There was a conference call line with a publicly accessible and warned phone number in use.

  • The committee discussed the Rutland Housing Authority project at 101 Woodstock Avenue.
    1. Ms. Ashcroft asked Mr. Loso what the Memorandum of Understanding which was sent to the Select Board and Police Chief was for and what the project was committing to the town.
    2. Mr. Loso stated the MOU listed what the Rutland Housing Authority will be doing. Cameras will be installed around the property and the recordings will be made available to the Police Department upon request. They will also provide a secure space and internet access for the officers to complete paperwork if they needed. They will cover expenses related to training of their property manager provided by our Police Department.
    3. Ms. Russell expressed concerns with officers completing paperwork there. Chief Dumas stated this would not be something they would be able to do due to security requirements. Mr. Loso said this offer was made to address concerns made by the Police Department. He said it is up to our officers if they want to use it.
    4. Chief Dumas asked what the plan will be for tenants who are there for more than 28 days and engage in illegal activity. Mr. Loso said the property manager will have skills in not just property management but also is social work. The medical center is leasing 2 units and will be available for individuals who are stuck in the hospital and cannot be discharged because they do not have stable housing. Chief Dumas and Deputy Chief Washburn asked if they are planning to discharge patients with psychiatric issues or dementia to this facility. Mr. Loso said not necessarily and that they will work with the hospital to people who are discharged here are appropriate for the facility. Mr. Loso said this is not intended for chronic patients but meant to address the large amount of individuals and families displaced by covid-19. Mr. Loso said the Homeless Prevention Center is a partner and they are helping with the application process. The onsite manager will need to control the facility and have social skills to deal with any issues. Ms. Ashcroft said they need to be the point of contact for our Police Department.
    5. Ms. Ashcroft asked if any feedback has been received from Act 250 after the town answered the Municipal Impact Questionnaire. Mr. Loso said they wanted to address the concerns stated in the answers from the town before sending it into the Act 250 commission.
      1. Loso said they are planning to expand the sidewalk around the utility pole, as noted in the comments from Byron Hathaway.
    6. Mr. Loso said they did not submit the MIQ due to the inexperience at the local level with Act 250 district coordinator. They wanted to clear the issues up before submitting it.
    7. Deputy Chief Washburn said the onsite person will need to triage the issues onsite before getting the police involved. Ms. Ashcroft confirmed that someone will be onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mr. Loso confirmed there would be.
    8. The RHA has maintenance staff on call 24 hours a day if needed. Ms. Russell confirmed that these individuals would not be the ones addressing issues with tenants that arise. Mr. Loso said that is not part of their job. Mr. Loso said the property manager will live on site, that is part of their role.
    9. Ms. Ashcroft asked if there is an MOU between the RHA and the City Police Department. Mr. Loso said there are for some of their properties.
    10. Ms. Ashcroft said the MOU between the RHA, and our town will specifically need to address the duties and actions of the onsite person.
    11. Mr. Loso said the RHA is a tax-exempt organization but feels they have an obligation to contribute since the will be suing town services.
    12. Mr. Loso said they do not have anyone hired for this job yet. If they do not have someone in place when the facility is ready to open, they will move someone into the role in the interim.
    13. Deputy Chief Washburn wants reassurances from the RHA as to what they will have in places for an emergency response plan, especially outside of regular business hours. Ms. Ashcroft said they need to ensure the onsite person is qualified and a written protocol on how a crisis will be handles should be submitted.
    14. Mr. Loso had they had more time to develop this project the process would have been different.
    15. Mr. Loso stated Diane Snelling from the State DEC said they can move forward with the project based on what was submitted, because it should work out. The final permit has not been issued yet.
    16. Mr. Loso asked for consideration in turning around information quicky. Ms. Ashcroft stated the information requested should come back before this committee for review and then brought to the full boards with recommendations. Ms. Ashcroft said the current MOU will not be recommended to the board.
    17. Mr. Loso asked for a special meeting with the board. Ms. Ashcroft stated the requested information needs to come back to the committee before going back before the full board. A follow up meeting with the Police Committee will be warned for Wednesday September 23rd at 2PM to review the requested information. It should include and job description and expected qualification of the property manager, protocols, and a commitment to the 24/7 onsite manager.
    18. Ms. Ashcroft asked Mr. Loso if he felt any of the requests are unreasonable. Mr. Loso said we are free to ask for what we need and that this project will reflect well on the town.
  • The committee discussed legislation currently being debated regarding changes in the use of force. Nothing has been passed yet, but a change is expected in the next couple of weeks.
  • The committee discussed upcoming changes in the dispatch services currently being done by the Vermont State Police. There is a plan to start charging the municipalities separately for dispatching calls. There are other options being looked at currently, in terms of software used and who could provide dispatch service. Other police departments in the area use different software and are coming to demonstrate it for our officers.
  • The committee reviewed a speed cart radar report for Post Road in an area addressed as a concern by a resident in that area.
    1. Deputy Chief Washburn reviewed the report and discussed what each of the section showed. It captured vehicle speed and traffic count data and will be used to target patrol times.
  • The committee discussed the 5-year plan for the Police Department.
    1. Some of the goals discussed over the next 5 years is to establish a K9 program, purchase a replacement cruiser to replace the oldest car in the fleet and work on a new facility for them to work out of.
      1. DC Washburn has gathered information from local organizations who have pledged their support to help the town establish a K9 program, assist with fundraising, procure a dog suitable for our needs and assist with the care of the dog as well. The K9 would be used for tracking, drug enforcement and as a deterrent. Currently when one is needed, RPD and VSP are the only resource and are not always available.
    2. One of the Dodge Chargers is needing to be replaced and the most logical thing would be to replace it with a vehicle suitable for installing in the infrastructure needed for a K9. Pricing from Ford and Dodge will be compared to see what the best option will be. This will be discussed at a future meeting.
    3. Chief Dumas is planning to leave his role at the Child First Advocacy Center at the end of 2021. More information on what this change will mean to the town will be reviewed at a future meeting as it is available.

The meeting adjourned at 10:55 AM

Respectfully submitted, Bill Sweet