The Waitsfield Select Board is continuing a multi-month initiative to adopt the requisite policies needed to appoint a town constable and is also exploring the possibility of sharing a constable with a local town.
The process got underway last summer and the board has been working through the details since then. Board members initially talked to Jeff Campbell, one of Warren’s two constables about whether he’d be willing to be appointed as Waitsfield’s constable.
Waitsfield voters authorized the select board to appoint rather than elect a constable in 2004. The board has been exploring what needs to happen to have a town constable with law enforcement authority.
To appoint and hire a constable, the town needs to have five legislatively-mandated policies in place.
The five required policies are the Vermont Body Worn Video Policy, Vermont Conducted Electrical Weapons Policy, Vermont Fair & Impartial Policing Policy, Vermont Identification Process Policy, and Vermont Internal Affairs (Citizen Complains) Policy.
Drafts of those policies were provided to the town by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.
Board chair Christine Sullivan said the board discussed the policies but did not take action at its meeting this week on August 8.
“We’re working through the process and we will have to identify the person we want to appoint and ensure that person is still willing. We have to adopt the appropriate policies, identify the duties and finalize details about hours and budget,” Sullivan said.
Town administrator Annie Decker-Dell’Isola said current thinking is that a constable could be needed to respond to calls up to five hours a week. In a memo this spring, she explained that Warren budgets $19,800 for two part-time constables and said that costs include patrol hours, training hours, certificates, mileage, and equipment. Waitsfield has included $7,500 in the 2022-2023 budget with $8,000 budgeted for the following year.
Warren’s constables use their own vehicles, Dell’Isola reported and told the board that town staff is working to identify areas where cost sharing may be possible such as with training costs and certification maintenance. She further told the board that partnering with Warren on a constable would mean that trainings and certifications were already in place and would only need to be maintained.