[Tim Bilodeau, Acting Chief]: The mission of the University of Vermont Police Services is to enhance our public safety mission through our partnerships, our enforcement, and certainly through our education. And the top part of that is really the service that we have to our community for that. The difference between UVM Police Services and other university police departments is, in Vermont we’re the only university police department, number one. In addition to that, we all go to the same police academy in Vermont, so all police officers know each other. It’s a very familiar law enforcement community. The University of Vermont Police Services accomplishes trust and legitimacy by us taking the long view of the idea that we are sticking to our values over time, and our community’s values, to accomplish what we need. In addition to that, you know, our central operating system is our culture. We have a strong culture at UVM Police around our service and ensuring that we’re providing the best service possible for all of our people.
[Mandy Wooster, Deputy Chief]: So UVM Police believes not only in creating mutual relationships with our local law enforcement, but we also find it extremely important to collaborate with our UVM campus partners, such as Residential Life, the Dean of Students Office, the Centers for Health and Wellbeing, and Student Conduct. Additionally, members from each of those departments come together and take a holistic approach in addressing and meeting all the needs for our campus population.
[Nick Lemon, Administrative Assistant]: Open communication is integral to our functioning as a police department. If we’re not able to communicate with the community and they don’t feel comfortable communicating with us, we’re not able to do our jobs.
[Tim Bilodeau, Acting Chief]: The federal reporting requirements are Title IX and Clery. It’s vitally important to keep those for us because, in addition to us collecting the data and putting information out to our community about the statistics that they need to know about, the other part is it’s really about safety and allowing our students to get resources they need in critical situations.
[Nick Lemon, Administrative Assistant]: Social media is really allowing departments to reach people where they’re at in this age, and so by using social media as a police department, you’re able to communicate with people you might not otherwise reach.
[Jennifer Norton-Magnan, Patrol Officer]: I think community policing at the University of Vermont is working with students, faculty, staff, the visitors coming to our campus and helping them identify problems and solving those problems for them.
[Bill Sioss, Patrol Officer]: Every day is different. Somedays might be slower than others. We deal with everything from routine community service issues to criminal investigation. It runs an entire gamut. What I do keep in mind is I always want to be approachable; I always want to have resources for people. If I don’t have the answer, I want to try to help guide somebody to find that answer.
[Chris Coyner, Dispatcher]: We are luckily staffed with a compassionate group that treats all callers with respect and ensures that they feel that their concerns are being addressed.
[Nick Lemon, Administrative Assistant]: UVM Police is fortunate enough to serve the most diverse community in Vermont, and it’s a community that changes over every single year. Our goals are constantly changing with our community and we’re constantly learning from the new people that we get in every year.
[Mandy Wooster, Deputy Chief]: Training and development has to be at the forefront of the things that we do. We have a training committee that focuses on officer development, focuses on making sure that we’re meeting all of our obligatory requirements as well as they outsource training for us to meet the ever-changing needs of the culture. The initial training for a police officer sets the foundation for a successful career in policing. Police candidates for UVM Police start with a seventeen-week training program at the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. That’s followed by some three weeks of certification processes and a twelve-week comprehensive field training program here at UVM Police. We created a Wellness program that focuses on all aspects of wellness. It’s an incentive-based program that allows the officers to be rewarded for active participation in their own health and wellbeing.
[Tim Bilodeau, Acting Chief]: The future of policing, and what it looks like, and how we are responding to that at UVM Police, it comes down to this: a lot of the issues that we face, they’re national problems and they’re complex. They’re around mental health, addiction, these things that are large social problems but they’re part of what we’re involved with and we rely on other organizations, other professions, and other disciplines to help inform how we respond to those effectively.