From border to border, state leaders say crime is out of control in Vermont. Prosecutors, judges, advocates and legislators blame a growing opiate addiction epidemic and are scrambling to find solutions.
"We've got the smartest minds in the state right here on a problem we're botching pretty bad," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
During a conference held at the Vermont Law School in Royalton, the governor challenged every link in the criminal justice chain to be bold.
Those experiencing relative levels of success shared their stories.
"Early intervention works," Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark said.
Clark says when he ran the Bellows Falls Police Department they tried everything possible to curtail domestic violence. Many ideas failed, but adding an independent social worker to chat with the most frequent offenders between incidents led to a 28 percent reduction.
"We were so shocked," Clark said. "We thought we ran the numbers the wrong way."
"We all serve and protect. We just serve and protect in a different way," Bellows Falls social worker Christine Bullard said.
Rutland Police Chief James Baker says arresting and re-arresting addicts doesn't work.
"We policed the city very hard, very hard-- black gloves and night sticks, and that's not going to work anymore," Baker said.
The chief says they're uncovering counter-intuitive crime trends by analyzing data, a technique used in large cities across the country. Baker says Vermont doesn't always need to create its own approach.
"We need to stop thinking nationally tested programs-- that are validated on a national level and they work-- and then decide we're going to make it Vermont," he said.
Baker says his unit no longer measures success by arrests and drug confiscations, but by the department's ability to break the pattern of crime. Experts hope continued innovation with evidence-based success can help the state in the constant battle between law and order.
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:31 AM EST2014-03-08 13:31:36 GMT
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. His office says Governor Peter Shumlin will be at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. While theMore >>
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 AM EST2014-03-08 13:17:30 GMT
We have some ideas for your Saturday. IRISH FESTIVAL The 19th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival kicks off today. There is a lecture about the role of Irish immigrants in the Civil War at theMore >>
Friday, March 7 2014 7:28 PM EST2014-03-08 00:28:44 GMT
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there. More >>
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there.More >>