My name is [INSERT], and I live in Middlebury, Vermont.
I am writing to demand that the Middlebury Town Council adopt a city budget that prioritizes community well-being, and redirects funding away from the police.
In a town that is 84% white, we must do more than explain the history of MPD’s efforts to reform. In March of 2016 we saw police in Burlington fatally shoot a man in the middle of a mental health crisis . In this past decade, 17 people have been shot, tasered, or otherwise killed by police in Vermont. This past decade was Vermont’s deadliest decade in terms of police killing, with 2019 being the deadliest year as four people were executed by police.
If we care about the quality of life experienced in our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, we must invest in our community services that work directly with these populations. BIPOC communities are disproportionately affected by the current economic and health emergency and are over-policed. Increasing the police force will only exacerbate our ongoing public health crises.
The 2019 Middlebury Town Report details that mental health, chronic substance abuse, and issues surrounding homelessness were the three most time consuming issues for the MPD. Yet despite those patterns, an ongoing pandemic, and unprecedented rates of unemployment, the FY21 budget only allows a $10,000 increase in funding for social services . This increase isn’t even a fourth of the increase which is allocated for MPD. As a resident of Middlebury I demand that the FY21 budget be rejected, and a new budget be proposed with these funds redirected away from MPD and into our community services. We are a rural town with limited access to healthcare, rising unemployment, and homelessness. Our town needs healthcare, social services, food, and job opportunities. I demand that the funding for MPD be reallocated into Health Services, Senior Services, Child Protective Services, Housing Services, Community Legal Aid, and Social Services.
Please invest in our community rather than law enforcement.