One Secretary to rule them all! If a bill proposed by an influential Vermont Senate chair becomes law, all state police, game wardens, prison guards, and sheriffs – and many other state law enforcement groups and individuals – would be overseen by a newly created Agency of Public Safety.
“Municipal law enforcement is not included. S182 incorporates many ideas included in a Jan. 14 report by Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling claiming that single-agency consolidation would save money, allow more sharing of resources, and reduce redundancy – the usual justifications for centralization.
Critics of the bill say it won’t work that way in practice. Years ago, during a previous state government reorganization, “we were assured the game warden force would remain independent,” Evan Hughes of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs said in a State House interview today. “We want them to be in an agency where their skills are properly utilized. You can create an agency on a flowchart that looks efficient. But in practice it’s not effective or efficient. The best utilization of resources is done by those aware of the mission and skills of the game wardens.”