A method of police work that’s helped reduce crime in Massachusetts has come to Vermont.
It’s called intelligence-based policing, and Vermont State Police Sgt. Jerry Partin says it’s about building trust and friendships within communities and then being alerted by those community friends about potential illegal activity.
“We’re trying to bring local police, state police, all entities together with community stakeholders and come up with a holistic approach to solving community problems,“ Partin said.
The Vermont State Police recently started using intelligence-based policing in Williamstown and Tunbridge.
Nancy Chapman is a retired former South Royalton teacher. She’s worried about teenagers in and near Tunbridge who are about the same age as her former students.
“There are kids I’m hearing about all the time who are being arrested, caught for possession, and so I just think anything that we can do as a community to figure out what needs to be done is what we’ve got to do,“ Chapman said.
On Thursday, Partin told several dozen people at Tunbridge Central School that Springfield, Massachusetts saw a 30% decrease since officers started using intelligence-based policing.
He said the methods could help take the drug market away from potential dealers and address other issues caused by substance abuse.
“Even domestic violence, fraud, theft and so on, so these create a whole host of problems in the community,“ he said.
But Chapman says it may be difficult to attract more community involvement in policing.
“I think people are afraid to make a commitment to do anything because they’re afraid there will be some repercussions on back roads, and I think we’ve got to do more for prevention,“ she said.