The new leader of Project VISION is planning for life after the pandemic, allowing organizations that operate from the VISION Center at the police station to return to the building and planning for the May meeting to allow remote and in-person participation.
Cmdr. Greg Sheldon said the Project VISION Center is expected to reopen on April 19.
“From that point forward, if your organization or you as an individual would like to come here, you’re allowed to come here from the organizational standpoint and policies on COVID,” he said.
Agencies that use space at the center include Mentor Connector, the Community Care Network and NewStory Center.
Sheldon said those who want to use their cubicle or desk at the police station can use the resources they might have available there including working with members of the Rutland City Police Department’s community response team, which includes Sheldon and Sgt. Jon Dickerson.
Asked about protocol for entering the police station, Sheldon said they would follow the guidelines from the state and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He said there would be decontamination materials like hand sanitizer, but said he did not expect a requirement that anyone coming in be vaccinated.
Sheldon, who was speaking at his first meeting of Project VISION since officially taking over for Cmdr. Matt Prouty, said the next monthly meeting of VISION in May will be a hybrid to which members can attend remotely, as they did on Thursday, or at Calvary Bible Church on Grove Street and Meadow Lane in Rutland.
The hybrid meetings are expected to continue until at least July, when Sheldon said he expects Gov. Phil Scott will end all COVID restrictions, but added he might continue the remote option if members request it.
Also, Sheldon invited the chairmen and chairwomen of a VISION subcommittees he’s planning to arrange a meeting with state officials in the near future.
At a meeting of the city’s Board of Aldermen on Monday evening, Rutland Mayor David Allaire called the incidents that have taken place at the Quality Inn, including the shooting death of a 35-year-old Holyoke, Massachusetts, man for which there has been no arrest, “totally unacceptable.”
On Saturday, police investigated a fatal shooting at the Quality Inn, the second fatal shooting at the hotel in less than six months.
On Monday, Kahliq Richardson, 18, was arraigned on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Jonah Pandiani. 19, of Rutland, Police said Richardson, also of Rutland, was “showboating” with a gun and appeared to have shot Pandiani accidentally.
Allaire said he was concerned about the state policies placing the homeless population in Rutland hotels.
Sheldon said he had been asked to invite leaders of VISION to be part of the meeting so the state could hear from them. He said Rutland officials wanted Vermont officials to know the concerns aren’t just coming from the police.
Renee Bousquet, district director for the Vermont health department in Rutland County, asked VISION members to get the word out about a vaccination clinic scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and from 4 to 7 p.m. at Rutland High School specific to the BIPOC community and members of their households.
Appointments can be made by contacting La’Keiah Gillespie, of the Rutland Area NAACP, by sending an email to email@example.com or calling 282-5121.
Bousquet said there were still inoculations available but pointed out 200 vaccinations were given last week and this week about 120 appointments had been made of another 200 vaccinations available for Saturday.
Mark Stockton, chairman of Project VISION, announced the second Stuff-A-Cruiser event, which raises money and collects food for local food shelves is scheduled for May 14. The event is a collaboration between Stockton Security, VISION and BROC of Southwestern Vermont.
The goal is to fill a police cruiser with food while accepting donations as well. In 2020, more than $6,000 was donated.