As members of the central Vermont chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, we want to state boldly that Act 54 and its provision to revisit the details of Vermont’s Fair and Impartial Policing Policy needs to uphold the values and laws that protect ALL people who come in contact with the criminal justice system, regardless of race or immigration status. So far, the collaborative process with the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council between stakeholders and policy writers has had some good results — protections of privacy and mandates for training and accountability, to name a few.
BUT, still there is more we need to do to assure things like the open sharing of information about immigration status is not permitted. Why? Because the result will be appeals to racial profiling, harassment of new Americans, and ineffective policing where victims and witnesses who are not protected from deportation simply will not come forward. Immigration and customs officials should not have access to persons held in state jails, nor folks in witness protection. And racial profiling of any type should not be practiced.
Sign the petition calling on the Criminal Justice Training Council to approve the version of the Fair and Impartial Policing Policy (FIPP) that stakeholders and community members are calling for before their meeting on December 12th. To access the petition online, visit racialjusticereformomnibusbillvt.wordpress.com/.
All Vermonters, regardless of race or immigration status, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Victoria Pearson & Claire Wheeler