As the outcry over racial injustice and police brutality continues nationwide, the new top cop in Montpelier is believed to be the first black police chief in Vermont’s history.
While Chief Brian Peete was selected before the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, he says he feels a responsibility to lead the Capitol City with love. “That’s what we have to focus on, what unites us rather than what divides us and then we can move forward from there,” Peete said.
At a formal ceremony outside City Hall Wednesday, Peete officially assumed his duties as Montpelier’s Chief of Police. The first African American to lead a police department in Vermont, Peete is also the first chief in decades that wasn’t a born and raised Vermonter.
Peete most recently served as chief for the city of Alamogordo, New Mexico. He also has years of experience serving in the U.S. Air Force and the Chicago Police Department.
City Manger William Fraser said that, while the color of Peete’s skin had nothing to do with his hiring, “we’re glad to be able to make progress and to bring diversity to our city particularly in this time.
Peete acknowledges he’s taking over during a sensitive time. He says he hopes to bring different ideas and experiences to Vermont, and vows to lead the community with inclusion and transparency..
“I look forward to all of us moving forward together especially in a time as dynamic as where we are now,” he said. “I know we’re going to rise to the challenge and we’re going to be the example for the rest of the nation as far as how police officers serve the community they swore an oath to.”