Does Londonderry, Vt. really need a sheriff?

Dear Editor,

At Town Meeting last year, Londonderry voted to appropriate $45,000 to hire the Windham County Sherriff to spend up to 20 hours per week for policing the town of Londonderry. A representative from the sheriff’s office spoke at the meeting and said that they were committed to policing the community as a whole – which was important to the voters, as Londonderry has had a problem with drug dealers and with break-ins in the past. Since then, according to the Windham County Sheriff’s police log on their website, the vast majority of their “policing” has been issuing traffic tickets. It is important to note that the Sherriff’s Department makes money from each ticket they issue, so they have a financial interest in issuing tickets.

The reason given at the meeting for using the sheriff, as the Vermont State Police were no longer available for additional patrols in Londonderry, was the speeding problem. But speeding can be corrected for much less money using means that work 24 hours per day at all of the problem locations, rather than 20 hours per week at one or two locations. Radar signs can be installed as well as rumble strips and speed tables, which are much more friendly and easier on trucks and plows than speed bumps. As I recall, there wasn’t very much speeding on Thompsonburg Road when it was bumpy. The problems arose when it was repaved. One-time money can be used for those means rather than $45,000 every year for a sheriff to occasionally slow people down.

I am all for policing in Londonderry, and if the town were able to contract with the Vermont State Police, or Winhall Police (who are also EMTs and respond to all emergencies including medical emergencies – something the sheriff does not do), I would be for it. Personally, I don’t believe that Londonderry needs to be known as the next speed trap as Danby, Wallingford, and Plymouth are known. We don’t need a new sheriff in town.

I urge the Selectboard to warn the following article at Town Meeting: “As an alternative to contracting with the Windham County Sheriff, shall the town vote to raise the sum $30,000 to control speeding by installing mechanical means, such as radar signs, rumble strips, and speed tables, at the Selectboard’s discretion?”


Doug Friant

Londonderry, Vt.

Back To Top