May 6, 2014
Warren Van Wyck
3502 Middlebrook Road
Ferrisburgh, VT 05456
58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753
To the editor:
Our community is well served when the county newspaper reports and comments on the activities of the Legislature. With respect to an editorial on Monday concerning the Bill S.184, “An Act Relating To Eyewitness Identification Policy”, and a statement I had provided to the newspaper on the previous Friday, I offer the following clarification and amplification of the position I had hoped to convey in a summary manner.
I do not support any law enforcement officer’s practice of stopping and/or questioning anyone merely on the basis of the person’s race – racial profiling. What I do object to is the invasive reporting requirements of this bill.
Citizens of this district have gathered in considerable numbers at least three times in the last two years over crime sprees in the county. Most crime in the area is related to opiates, which are usually transported from major metropolitan areas to Vermont. A set of directions for Google Maps from New York City to Burlington displays Vermont 22A through Addison, Panton and Vergennes as a part of the preferred route.
I am not primarily concerned about the increased paper work, but the obvious possible results of such reports. An officer’s record could be monitored and the officer could be singled out merely for the legal performance of his/her duties. And this could include stopping drug traffickers passing through this county for traffic violations on 22A or Main Street in Vergennes. What if the city of Vergennes’ Police Department has significantly higher statistics than the village of Swanton’s Police Department?
The Vermont Human Rights Commission has heard and will hear cases of alleged racial profiling. A law enforcement officer should also be able to face his/her accuser – not an anonymous spreadsheet indicating a statistical anomaly. Police officers must be accorded the same civil rights as the general public.
I must vote for public safety foremost along with due process for all.
Please contact me for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Warren Van Wyck of Addison 3 District