Elizabeth ‘Liz’ McLoughlin: ‘Let’s work together and with the police department to solve our town’s crime problems’

BRATTLEBORO — As I stated in my recent newspaper profile for this Selectboard race, we have problems in Brattleboro that only working together can solve.

Crime is certainly a major problem. I have been working to understand and address our crime problem in my four years on the Selectboard. I've seen these issues myself on my police ride-along.

Chief Norma Hardy reported to the Selectboard the nature and level of crime in our town. This data showed us that the most serious crime in our community is domestic abuse and child abuse. Addressing crime downtown is certainly important, but don't be fooled: Arresting loiterers is not the solution to our downtown and neighborhood break-ins. Our town employees, including the police, are here to serve all of Brattleboro.

Let's focus on the real issues and not be distracted by wordplay or performative actions. Let's work together and with the police department to solve our town's crime problems.

As a Selectboard member, I will continue to ask Chief Hardy what the department needs to patrol, deter, and solve crime in the Transportation Center and downtown. Let's not pre-determine what set of tools are necessary (e.g., a substation, lights, and/or cameras); let's have an intelligent discussion with our Police Department leadership.

The Brattleboro Police Department is engaged in the difficult task of hiring the right kind of personnel for the positive police culture it has established. We need police, mental health services, and social services - let's not take from one to pay for the other. I am vigilant against this defund idea for our town. All these professionals should and must work together.

I also believe we need solutions in our judiciary and in our legislature to combat the revolving door of arresting and releasing persons who commit crimes and who might suffer from mental illness. State money for mental health and addiction treatment is needed.

The next few years are pivotal for the Brattleboro Selectboard. We need to work with town staff to be smart about our own American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending for municipal purposes and to work with the state to make sure Vermont's ARPA and infrastructure spending can be used to support Brattleboro's anti-crime, mental health, housing, infrastructure, and social needs that are so critical now and for the future of our community.

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