NEFAC Demands More Transparency Among Police in Vermont, Outlines Ways to Increase Public Oversight

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |


The New England First Amendment Coalition sent a letter today to Vermont representatives demanding more transparency within law enforcement agencies and describing changes that could be made to improve public oversight.

“During the last several weeks, the issue of police brutality has risen in our national conscience and there now seems to be the political appetite to make necessary reforms to law enforcement policy,” wrote Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director, to members of the state’s Senate Government Operations Committee on June 18.

“This is an opportunity for leaders such as yourselves to help make both local and state police departments as well as county sheriffs offices more accountable for their actions and to prevent instances of misconduct that have been plaguing communities throughout the nation,” he added.

NEFAC outlined specific actions that would help increase transparency among police departments and expand the public’s right to know about law enforcement.

They include:

Open Up the Vermont State Police Advisory Commission
Create a Publicly-Accessible Officer Misconduct Database
Release Names of All Suspended Officers
Further Open the Decertification Process
Mandate the Use of Body Cameras
Require First Amendment Education and Training

“While racism and inequity are rightfully at the forefront of this national dialogue, a parallel conversation needs to occur about transparency and its role in maintaining responsible law enforcement agencies,” Silverman wrote. “With those in Vermont now discussing how law enforcement can best be structured and overseen by the public, this is an opportune time to make meaningful changes to our police departments.”

The June 18 letter is NEFAC’s most recent effort to combat secrecy within law enforcement agencies. NEFAC joined a coalition of open government advocates throughout the country earlier this month to demand more police accountability.

NEFAC also featured Dan Barrett, a coalition board member and legal director at the ACLU of Connecticut, in a video about transparency’s role in policing the police. You can view that interview here and share a slideshow summarizing Barrett’s remarks on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, The Boston Globe, Paul and Ann Sagan, WBUR, Boston University and the Robertson Foundation.