Police headed in right direction
The Rutland City Police Commission released the following statement this week following a state Supreme Court decision and revelations of past police misconduct. Members of the commission include: Larry Jensen (chairman), Thomas Calcagni (vice chairman), Dr. Luther Brown, Michelle Fairbrother and Sean Sargeant
The Rutland City Police Commission recognizes the concern which has been raised as a a result of the recent revelation of the viewing of pornography by present and past members of the Rutland City Police Department. In the past three years a number of changes have occurred which address those concerns.
In 2011 a new bundle of software was placed on the information technology system in the department to monitor and limit the kind of sites that are accessed from the department’s equipment.
More importantly, the Rutland City Police Department, under the leadership of Chief James Baker, has formulated a vision statement, a mission statement and a statement of our shared values, which guide our behavior as an organization. Clearly, viewing of pornographic material on any city equipment and on city time is a serious violation of these statements.
The entire department is adopting a new culture and a new way of operating, which, we believe, will be more effective in improving the lifestyle of everyone in our city. Project vision and the work that is going on to improve areas in the northwest section of Rutland are a good example of the new way of providing police services. The success of these efforts requires the cooperation and support of the citizens of the city. The Police Commission recognizes that the recent news in the media and on social websites has eroded the trust we need to engender in the public. We have been working for several years to restore that trust and regret the mistrust that is evident.
The police chief and all of the members of the Police Commission have, for the most part, taken on their current roles since these incidents occurred. These matters were investigated, and discipline was administered. They were closed. We can only say that violations of our standards of behavior will be viewed with the utmost scrutiny.
We would point out that the process for administering progressive discipline and behavior supervision is dictated by the union contract and the policies of the city of Rutland. Those processes do not include any intervention by the Police Commission. The Police Commission reviews all of these actions with the police chief monthly and, where necessary, establishes policies which address the patterns or misbehaviors which are observed. If these behaviors persist, the commission must hold the chief accountable.
We are confident that the Rutland City Police Department is headed in a good direction, that Chief Baker is leading the organization with strength and well-thought-out strategies and that the officers in the department are adopting that new direction in a positive, enthusiastic manner. We are proud of these officers and the job they are doing for the city of Rutland. We appreciate their hard work and dedication to our city.
We will do everything we can to see that this direction is maintained and that the citizens of the city of Rutland can maintain a comfortable, safe way of life.