WATERBURY, Vt. – During these unprecedented times, people, businesses, and governments throughout the world are modifying their operations as a novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has spread around the globe. In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency Friday, enacting steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the most vulnerable.
The Vermont State Police, like law-enforcement agencies nationwide, has planned for this situation and is taking precautions. Commanders have directed members of the state police to make certain modifications to their operations to protect both the workforce and the public.
“These modifications are undertaken out of an abundance of caution to ensure we are taking appropriate steps to reduce unnecessary risks of exposure to COVID-19 for members of the Vermont State Police and for Vermont residents,” Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Schirling said. “But I want to be clear: The Vermont State Police is still in full and active operation.”
Under the procedures currently in effect, Vermont State Police barracks are staffed, and members are continuing to respond to calls. In some cases, the agency will change the way it handles those calls. For instance, troopers will physically respond to major case investigations such as homicide, and to calls regarding crimes in progress, motor vehicle crashes with injuries, missing persons cases, and domestic assault, as a few examples. As needed, troopers may take precautions such as social distancing, consulting with medical first responders, and using personal protective equipment.
In other cases, such as minor motor vehicles crashes, vandalisms, and thefts, the state police may take reports from the public over the phone. State police members are making these response decisions in consultation with supervisors. The Vermont State Police encourages people who are victims of these types of crimes to report them over the phone rather than by walking in at a barracks. Additionally, state police members are evaluating the necessity of trainings and travel and will curtail or reschedule those events as appropriate.
“The public should rest assured that our services remain available. We are continuing to function as a law-enforcement agency should under the unusual circumstances we all are facing,” said Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. “The state police is taking prudent precautions to ensure we can continue to respond to calls for service, as Vermonters rightfully expect us to do.”
These procedures have been developed by Commissioner Schirling and Col. Birmingham in consultation with health experts. Additional steps, if necessary, will be determined by these same individuals, with the continual goal of ensuring the protection of the lives and safety of all Vermonters.
A list of all Vermont State Police barracks, their phone numbers, and the names and email addresses of the commanders of those barracks is available at the following link: www.vsp.vermont.gov/stations.