This article by Jim Therrien originally appeared June 11 in the Bennington Banner.
BENNINGTON — With Bennington close to hiring a consultant to review Bennington Police Department policies and practices, some residents are calling for greater transparency and the creation of a police oversight board.
Logan Snow, who spoke to the Select Board Monday, raised questions about the pending study and urged complete transparency about the report based on the review.
Snow said she represented a group of residents who have been meeting to talk about “concerns over the transparency and lack of oversight for the Bennington Police Department.”
She said they believe the department “has been operated without oversight for too long, and this has created an environment of distrust,” adding that information about the department typically goes to the Select Board but “citizens are given minimal chance to weigh in.”
Currently, the board is awaiting responses to a request for proposals to conduct a review of the BPD, with study proposals due by June 14. Such a review was approved by the board after Attorney General T.J. Donovan recommended one by an independent entity for the department amid criticism from civil rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Donovan’s comments came after online racial harassment and alleged threats that led in September 2018 to the resignation of former state Rep. Kiah Morris of Bennington, who is African American.
She and others were critical of the BPD for not arresting anyone while the harassment continued over two fall election cycles in 2016 and 2018.
Read full article at the Bennington Banner.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)