FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Safety Review Committee Listening Process Underway
Facilitated Brattleboro committee offering multiple ways to share experiences with community safety and policing
Brattleboro, VT, For Immediate Release- The Brattleboro Community Safety Review facilitators and committee are working on collecting as much information about community safety and policing as possible from area residents this month. While listening is open to anyone in or around Brattleboro, the project is working hard to make sure the voices of the people with the most experience of danger & harm, police contact, and safety related interventions are at the center. The project scope includes a systems review of the Brattleboro Police Department, which includes listening sessions with officers and statistical and policy reviews, along with looking at mental health and psychiatric interventions, Department of Children and Families interventions, and other community responses to violence, danger, or harm. The project names anti-racism and anti-oppression as fundamental, and all information shared with the facilitators one on one or digitally will be thoroughly de-identified to protect the safety of people who want to share their experiences. People who work in community safety and support systems are also welcomed to share their perspectives, and are also offered de-identification and confidentiality so they may share freely about the successes and failures of existing structures of community safety and visions for a safer Brattleboro. One of the facilitators, Shea Witzberger, said “The process is underway and important conversations are happening. It’s great to have so much interest in collaborating toward community safety with less harm attached to it. Folks working in these systems know that the system can cause harm even in an attempt to be helpful, even despite best intentions. We are hoping to talk with many more people about their experiences of police interaction, crisis response, and other safety related experiences by December 1st. It’s a short timeline, but we aim to put forth recommendations by the end of the year that reflect people’s real needs. We are ambitious, collaborative, connected in community, and determined to make change.”
Many Opportunities to Engage
The group has set up many opportunities to connect. In addition to their public committee meetings, which are warned on the town website at brattleboro.org, there is an anonymous survey for community members and an organizational survey that anyone working in community support organizations can fill out. The facilitators are available to hold one on one conversations or listening sessions with groups of people through the end of November, many of which are already scheduled, and will also host a Virtual Community Safety Forum on November 16th from 6-8pm and a Virtual Community Safety Open Mic Night on November 21st from 5-8 pm for people to share their thoughts and experiences and creative expressions about these issues more publicly.
Information about previous and upcoming committee meetings, links to the anonymous or organizational surveys, and links to upcoming public forums and events are regularly updated at brattleboro.org in the Community Safety Review tab. Information can also be found by following the Brattleboro Community Safety Review page on Facebook. The facilitators are also inviting community members to reach out by phone or email to confidentially share their experiences, and to send “Visions For a Safer Brattleboro” in the form of art, music, poetry, or other creative expression to their email, CSRT@protonmail.com. All submissions will be kept confidential and anonymous without explicit consent to share and/or attribute.
Shea Witzberger and Emily Megas-Russell
Brattleboro Community Safety Review