6 people wanted to research Bennington policing options

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BENNINGTON — The town is seeking six people to work as independent contractors in performing research on community-based policing and civilian oversight of law enforcement.

The research work by two three-person teams will be part of the town's effort to implement community policing recommendations put forth in a report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police following a four-month review of the Bennington Police Department.

The town has since hired the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity to help with the implementation over the next six months. That effort will include creating teams of citizen researchers to examine community policing options in rural communities and the options for establishing a police oversight group.

Scope of work

A complete description of the scope of work for the researchers is posted on the Bennington town website.

The closing date for submitting letters of interest is July 13 at 5 p.m., and the research work will be completed by Aug. 17. Each researcher will receive a maximum stipend payment of $500.

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The director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, Curtiss Reed Jr., will provide an initial orientation to the research process and work product expectations.

The work will include online research and interviews with community-based subject matter experts on civilian oversight of law enforcement or community policing. The teams will prepare summaries of their research to share with Bennington residents during Select Board meetings, community meetings, and postings to the town website and designated social media.

Researchers will keep a log of contacts, information learned and community resources that will be made available to the public.

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Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, interviews with subject matter experts will be conducted by telephone or through teleconferencing.

The town is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, said Community Development Director Shannon Barsotti, adding, "We strongly encourage people of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, and people from other underrepresented groups to apply, recognizing that diverse perspectives and experiences are valuable to our team and essential to our public service."

To apply for a researcher position, send a letter of interest to the Town of Bennington; Attention: Michele Johnson, Human Resources & Contracts Administrator; 205 South Street, P.O. Box 469, Bennington, Vermont, 05201; or email to mjohnson@benningtonvt.org.

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Letters of interest must be less than 500 words and include name, address, and contact information.

Key themes

Reed has said that the key themes of the implementation process will be community-police relationships and trust; legitimacy, and procedural justice.

VCFD will facilitate professional development and training for the Select Board and town staff; help re-imagine the IACP team's action plan to provide for greater community involvement and collaboration; create joint town and community-driven vision and mission statements for the Bennington Police Department, and oversee the teams researching civilian review boards and community policing.

This research shall be completed before substantive discussions on what form civilian oversight of law enforcement might take in Bennington.

The Brattleboro-based Partnership for Fairness and Diversity is recognized as the national model on the practice of inclusive and equitable business and institutional practices. The VPFD works to strengthen inclusive and equitable practices in Vermont businesses, state and municipal government, school districts, and communities-at-large as a means to eliminate prejudice and discrimination of all kinds.


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