Burlington Police Commission names two members to policy review committee

Local News

BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Police Commission has named members Randall Harp and Jim Dunn to a special committee that will soon lead a public review of police department policy. The formation of the committee was approved at Monday’s city council meeting.

The group will have fifteen members in total, including representatives of communities of color and the LGBTQ community, city officials, and mental health and domestic abuse service providers.

Before being named to the committee, Harp responded to concerns that the police commission isn’t addressing use of force issues quickly enough.

“I do think that the goal is always ‘how can we make sure these situations are not happening in the future?” Dunn said. “Sometimes that’s a tricky question, sometimes a tricky answer and when those answers get implemented it takes longer than just a one second, one day, one week or one month fix.”

While the special committee is being formed, some Burlington residents are left with questions about department policy in the wake of last month’s body cam footage release. Several spoke out at Tuesday’s police commission meeting.

“I wanted to ask if the Burlington Police Department plans to have or does have 100% adoption of body cameras,” said one speaker. “Are there are plans for guidelines around releasing body cam footage to the public?”

Chief Brandon del Pozo said he supports getting body cam footage to the public quickly, saying the legal precedents that prosecutors have to follow are often what slows down the process.

“I think it would be great to have a better expectation of when we can deviate from present personnel precedent in order to release these notifications and footage of high impact incidents,” Chief del Pozo said. 

The special committee is going to provide policy change recommendations to the city council in November. Chief del Pozo also said his department will be providing some data and procedures to the committee.

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