News Releases

April 23, 2018

Governor Phil Scott Signs Executive Order Creating Community Violence Prevention Task Force

On Thursday April 19, 2018, Governor Phil Scott signed an Executive Order creating a Community Violence Prevention Task Force.

The Executive Order is one part of the Governor's broader efforts to ensure Vermont continues to be one of the safest states in the country.

"I'm hopeful every Vermonter will join in the responsible discussion we must have about ways to reduce violence in our society and keep kids safe in our schools," said Governor Scott. "Our goal must be to find real solutions and take steps that will make a difference," Governor Scott added.

"While gun safety and school security can be part of the conversation, we must also focus on the root causes of violence," Governor Scott said.

The Taskforce in the Governor's Executive Order will be comprised of fourteen members from inside and outside of state government to be appointed within the month. State government officials will include Commissioner of Public Safety, the Secretary of the Agency of Health and Human Services, the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, the Agency of Education School Security Liaison Officer and the Secretary of the Agency of Digital Services or designees. The other members of the taskforce may include mental health care professionals, teachers, students, school officials, sportsmen and/or licensed gun dealers, veterans, security consultants, health care providers and others.

The Governor's Executive Order asks the Task Force to:

* Assess high-quality primary research, including evidence-based Vermont data to the extent it is available regarding the underlying causes of violent behavior in communities. At the request of the House of Representatives by way of Resolution, this review will also consider the connection between excessive video game playing and the propensity to engage in gun violence;

* Identify best practices for schools and communities to prevent violent behavior including, but not limited to, identifying warning signs and how to report them, recommending ways to improve prevention and reporting of bullying and harassment and closing the operational gaps among the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Mental Health, the Agency of Education, law enforcement and our schools;

* Identify opportunities to strengthen existing support systems to ensure every school and community has a local rapid reaction/early intervention team involving educators, mental health/social service professionals and law enforcement when concerning behavioral issues are identified;

* Review opportunities for expanding school safety prevention and preparedness capacity in the Agency of Education and the Department of Public Safety and supporting the work of the Vermont School Safety Center;

* Evaluate the adequacy of protections for individuals (students and adults) reporting threats, including consideration of shield laws;

* Explore the feasibility of stronger open source intelligence gathering by the Vermont Intelligence Center and the cybersecurity center with Norwich University once established; and

* Review existing State health, mental health, education and criminal laws, regulations, policies, and programs and propose appropriate legislative changes, including changes to eliminate redundancy and break down barriers faced by communities and schools in coordinating action with State government.

Preliminary findings and recommendations will be submitted to the Governor no later than December 1, 2018.

If you're interested in serving on the Governor's Task Force, please send an email to exe.appointments@vermont.gov.

To view the full text of the Governor's Executive Order, visit: https://bit.ly/2qQsHnw.

Media Contact: Ethan Latour, Office of the Governor, Ethan.Latour@Vermont.Gov, 802-595-3776

Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: April 23, 2018 14:51:11