Waterbury Police Department talks begin
By David Taube
Vermont press bureau | December 03,2012
WATERBURY — Village trustees, the municipal manager and village Police Chief Joby Feccia met last week with a consultant to review police issues, the first of several closed-door meetings expected.
The consultant, Mary Fillmore, is meeting with the board to discuss roles and responsibilities of those parties, which includes trustees and police.
“We’re really trying to accomplish ... a guidance of the (police) department itself,” said village Trustee Lawrence “Lefty” Sayah.
Village trustees have discussed police department policy in recent board meetings, such as revamping parking enforcement efforts and department operating procedures. At one meeting last month, village President P. Howard “Skip” Flanders publicly questioned Feccia about the village police department’s follow-up for an October incident at Parro’s Gun Shop.
During the incident, a couple stole boxes of deer hunting arrowheads and then fled from a village police officer who happened to be nearby, almost running him over in their vehicle, according to police. In response to Flanders’ questions, Feccia said his officer was almost killed.
Flanders said village residents were paying for something that happened entirely outside village limits. Aside from the initial response by village police, Flanders questioned why local police, rather than State Police, had a primary role in the investigation.
The meetings with the consultant could result in changes with the police department, such as policy changes regarding standards and duties, Sayah said. It’s unlikely a firing would occur as a result of the meetings, he said.
As part of last week’s meeting, trustees each gave their own assessment of the overall situation involving police and trustee roles, Sayah said.
The meetings are being held in executive session on the grounds they deal with personnel matters, Sayah said. Currently the village is not scoring anyone’s performance regarding the issue, he said.
Discussion between the board and Fillmore before she was hired had indicated the meetings were not mediation.
Other staff in the village police department could later be involved with the meetings.
The village is paying Fillmore at a rate of $125 per hour. The village could end up spending around $2,500, but there’s no cap, Sayah said.
Another meeting will take place this week.