Public comment to be taken on law enforcement

Warren law enforcement hearing scheduled for March 30

As requested by voters on Town Meeting day, Warren will hold a public hearing on law enforcement on Tuesday, March 30.

The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the municipal building.

Select board members will take public comment on the town's law enforcement budget and the hours allocated by the contract with the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

In addition, public comment will also be taken on anything regarding potential collaborative efforts between the sheriff's department, the Neighborhood Watch program, Warren constables and the Sugarbush Resort area.

Currently, Warren contracts with the Washington County Sheriff's Department for 24 hours per week at a cost of $34,900. The town typically receives between $14,000 and $15,000 in highway fines.

Washington County Sheriff Sam Hill told residents present at a Valley-wide law enforcement forum that The Valley towns contract hours vary and that coverage includes conducting traffic patrol, transporting prisoners and following through with the "due process of law."

Currently, according to Hill, sheriffs spend 40 hours per week in The Valley: 16 hours in Waitsfield and 24 in Warren. Warren and Waitsfield are cross-patrolled, with coverage rotating back and forth between the two towns. Warren's additional eight hours are covered at a separate time, he said.

State law will soon require that constables complete 186 hours of training at the Vermont State Police Academy; without the training, the enforcement powers of the constables will be significantly reduced. The state is required to pay for the required training once the law comes into effect in 2011.