Middlebury, VT — The Middlebury Police Department is facing a staffing shortage, but Chief Thomas Hanley believes a solution may be found in an untapped labor pool. Chief Hanley says he’s been seeing fewer applications come in and that Vermont’s housing crisis makes it hard to attract out of state candidates. He also believes the growing disconnect between communities and police nationwide has not helped. Instead, Chief Hanley believes migrant workers can empathize with fellow community members and he’s already interviewed several of them.

“We always find them to be dedicated hard workers, loyal workers with a lot of attributes we like,” said Chief Hanley. “The migrant workers are exposed to things that most people here are not. They’ve lived in an atmosphere of bias and suspicion. They get it. They know what struggle is. To bring people on board like that, they’re ready to empathize with people we have here.”

Chief Hanley says he has not been able to hire any immigrant workers yet because of federal laws but says he’s sent the federal delegation a letter urging them to reconsider the laws.