PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2019 Contact: Brian Pine; 802-578-6953
On the heels of the recent case reviewing use of force on Mr. Douglas Kilburn, footage was released yesterday that continues to call into question the use of force in two additional cases from September 2018 by members of Burlington Police Department on residents of color. Today we condemn unnecessary and excessive use of force and announce that we will be sponsoring a resolution for the upcoming Council meeting on May 13 that calls for a thorough review of the BPD use-of-force policy with the goal being to adopt a policy that ensures meaningful protections, training (including training in trauma and de-escalation techniques) and accountability to ensure that law enforcement officers exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to the use of force and to broadly prevent all forms of police violence.
In 2017, the national Use of Force Project found that while the chances of killing a civilian increases the more arrests a police department makes, that likelihood is shaped by the department’s policies governing how and when police can use force during those encounters. This suggests that advocacy efforts pushing police departments to adopt more restrictive use of force policies – and the accountability structures to enforce them – can substantially reduce the number of people killed by police. And while this analysis was limited to examining rates of deadly force, these policies may also be associated with reductions in other forms of police violence as well.
We seek to understand the current policies, procedures, training and accountability mechanisms for Burlington police officers while assessing best practices across the nation and abroad. This will ensure that our policies, procedures and training align with our shared values of respect for the safety and welfare of everyone. It is imperative that we embody the standard of equal protection and build systems that work to avoid any abuse of power at all levels of our community.