Rutland City Police restructuring - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland City Police restructuring

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Chief James Baker Chief James Baker
RUTLAND, Vt. -

"We've taken the entire process and smashed it and we're in the process of putting it back together," Rutland City Police Chief James Baker said.

A major overhaul for the way things are run at the Rutland City Police Department. Baker says it's not one particular incident. Years of scandal rocked the department, from officers viewing porn on the job to an officer caught on video shooting a shackled prisoner with a pellet gun to an internal review showing improper handling of evidence.

"It's pretty well documented that we've had some very negative stuff go on here," Baker said. "As a result of digging deeper into that, I believe that some of that is the way the department is structured."

One of the major parts of this reconstruction-- bringing in Special Officer David Covell last month, who came out of retirement to work for the Rutland PD after 25 years with the Vermont State Police.

"I think anybody who retires from law enforcement re-evaluates what they want to do and I was very excited when I was approached with this opportunity and a lot of things that are happening here with this city and with the police department," Covell said.

Baker says one of Covell's roles as senior policy adviser is to help identify best practices, particularly in the criminal division. This is part of an overall plan to allow more innovative ideas to be shared and more responsibility for shift commanders.

"I think that for a long time there wasn't enough decision making pushed down to lower levels, that all the decision-making was being done by the command staff," Baker said.

Although Baker says this is a major overhaul, he says not much will change about who is working at the police department; no hiring or reduction in staff is expected.

Baker says the overall goal is to develop the future leaders of the force and encourage the entire staff to develop ideas on how to improve the overall quality of life in Rutland.

"It will support people in the department to be innovative on their own to bring ideas forward on how to better police the community," Baker said.

Baker says they are having more meetings with a facilitator to get feedback this month. They hope to have a completely new structure to present by March.

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