BURLINGTON, Vt. – In the wake of the release of body cam footage of two incidents involving Burlington Police officers, Mayor Miro Weinberger says changes to the department’s use-of-force policy should meet two goals.
“One, to repair that trust between the community and the police,” Weinberger said at Monday’s City Council meeting. “Two, we need to continue advancing with our important work on a progressive policing agenda.”
But some Burlington residents told city officials they wanted to see more immediate changes.
“Policing and police brutality against people of color in this community is a public safety issue,” said Kenzie Hines, one of nearly a dozen people who spoke Monday. “Keeping these abusive powers in place is a cowardly cop out.”
In response to the complaints, Chief Brandon del Pozo defended how the department has handled the recent cases and said it has worked to reduce use of force incidents.
“What we owe you is explaining these actions to subjects and members of the public,” del Pozo said. “Offering reasonable aid to people we use force on, treating people with professionalism and courtesy and department follow up with neighbors, family and community to explain our actions.”
He also mentioned that the department’s current use of force policy was developed with the community.
“It was developed in collaboration with the police, the government and the community and I think this sums it up really well going forward,” he said.
Weinberger announced a public engagement process involving police, community advocates and representatives of communities of color to review policy, training and wellness initiatives at the department.