Brattleboro police appoint Vermont’s 1st Black woman chief

Vermont News

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s first Black female police chief has been hired in Brattleboro and will start her job this week.

Town Manager Peter Elwell announced Monday that he appointed Norma Hardy, who “had a distinguished 26-year career with the Police Department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,” according to a statement from his office. She was picked from a strong field of 23 candidates, he said.

“Chief Hardy brings to Brattleboro a wealth of law enforcement leadership experience and a demonstrated commitment to work with the community on recalibrating the roles and expectations of the police and our civilian community partners,” Elwell said in the statement. “She also brings lived experience outside of law enforcement that will help advance the town’s work on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Hardy said she is excited to get started. “What I am most looking forward to is working with Brattleboro’s experienced police officers and engaged community members because the key to achieving community safety is collaboration and mutual respect,” she said in a statement.

A January report on a community safety review that included feedback from more than 200 community members and 25 organizations urged action to improve local policing, the Brattleboro Reformer reported.

The review called for greater accountability by reforming the police department’s complaint system, acknowledging systemic racism, strengthening support networks or structures, looking at how to help meet people’s basic needs, and reducing the size of the police force over time. Hardy said would like to discuss the report with the facilitators and Community Safety Review Committee members, saying some of the items are “quite doable and reasonable,” she said.

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