Vt. lawmakers look at beefing up search and rescue response - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. lawmakers look at beefing up search and rescue response

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A bill moving through the Vermont House aims to beef up the state's ability to respond to search and rescue incidents.

The effort comes following the tragic death of Levi Duclos in January 2012. The New Haven resident died after becoming injured hiking on a trail in Ripton. State police failed to mobilize a timely search before the 19-year-old succumbed to hypothermia.

The new measure establishes a full-time search and rescue coordinator within the state police among other changes.

"We have great partnerships right now with our local partners from fire, EMS, Fish and Game partners in search and rescue, but this will allow somebody to be dedicated to training, exercising, identifying equipment resources and needs, populating the search and rescue database-- somebody that's committed to just the full-time search and rescue resource," Vt. State Police Capt. Rob Evans said.

Public Safety officials expressed frustration that the new position-- for now-- comes without funding and exacerbates the staffing and overtime problems that already exist. Duclos' family members who were active in the bill's creation say it will better protect Vermonters.

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