When it comes to crime-- the City of Rutland has been less than perfect for a number of years.
Rutland City Mayor Christopher Louras said, "The low level crimes related to drug addictions were and are a huge problem in the community."
And it's police department's reputation has some serious blemishes. In recent years, an officer has been accused of stealing porn from the evidence room -- another accused of shooting and killing a leashed dog on private property -- others of spraying a suspect locked in a holding cell with pepper balls. But Police Commissioner Larry Jensen hopes his new hire for police chief, will bring about good change.
Larry Jensen, Rutland Police Commissioner, comments, "The chief talks about creating something here that is really special. people want to be a part of. and he is beginning to develop that culture within the department."
James Baker's 35 year resume is long -- he led the state's drug task force AND the state police-- during the high-profile cases like the rape and murder of Brooke Bennett. He also took over the state police academy after the former leader stepped down, and another official committed suicide on academy grounds.
"The work that he had done here was important and also it was important that he had those connections and had a successful history in the state." adds Jensen.
And Baker hopes to use those connections to help the city -- he's already begun talks with the governor and department of corrections on keeping better tabs on the hundreds of people in the city under supervision of corrections.
"When you find someone out of compliance. there needs to be some type of action taken against them. because if not, if not, the police dept ends up dealing with the pieces that are left on the street."
The chief says he believes a department should be measured not by how many tickets it writes or how many arrests are made -- but by how it's helped the city strive for change.
"Some of the metrics I'm thinking about is we address the number of addicted people in the area. I would like to see us drop our type 2 crimes down."
To do that, he says, he plans to collaborate with schools, the hospital, and other city organizations to tackle what he called city's biggest issues -- low level crime and opiate drug use -- collaboratively.
"Do some surveying with neighborhoods about what they think the quality of life in their neighborhoods are and what the perception of that quality of life is."
And it's that vision that the mayor and police commissioner, made him the best candidate for the job.
Larry Jensen said, "I hope the people in the community say "we've got a great police department" our police department is doing a great job and our needs are being addressed."
Baker signed a three year contract earlier this month and has already begun filling vacancies within the department.