Final Report on the Community Safety Review Process (Brattleboro, VT)
Shea Witzberger & Emily Megas-Russell, LICSW
This report is a review of the community safety process in Brattleboro, Vermont. This community safety review process sought to understand the current state of the community safety systems in Brattleboro and their impact on community members’ actual experiences of safety, danger, or harm. The process was led by two core facilitators and informed and guided by a nine-member committee, who each brought their own identities, perspectives and lived experiences. From October through December, this team sought input from community members about their experiences with safety, danger, harm and safety response systems. All community members were welcomed to share their experiences and visions, and engagement efforts were focused on connecting with individuals who carry marginalized identities and who are most impacted by policing and police-like systems. We heard from over 200 community members and professionals working in over 25 organizations. We also performed a quality review of the Brattleboro Police Department policies, practices, and some areas of data collection. The Town of Brattleboro has embarked on a courageous and imperative process of evaluating community experiences with safety, danger, harm and policing/safety systems. This step must be followed next by action.