AP NEWS

Vermont attorney general investigating police department

February 5, 2020 GMT

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. (AP) — Vermont State Police investigated a local police department for alleged improper conduct during a criminal investigation last year after a complaint from a state’s attorney.

Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver confirmed that she asked for an investigation of the Bellow Falls Police Department last July, the Brattleboro Reformer reported Tuesday.

Shriver declined to say what prompted her to contact state police, but said such a request isn’t common.

Officials have not said what the alleged improper conduct actually is.

Bellows Falls village trustees learned news of the investigation Monday and expressed surprise.

Adam Silverman, spokesman for the Vermont State Police, confirmed in an email that an investigation concluded in the fall and was forwarded to the Vermont attorney general’s office.

“The Vermont State Police conducted an investigation after receiving a report that alleged there was improper conduct during a Bellows Falls Police Department investigation,” Silverman said. “The state police concluded its work last fall and sent the matter to the Attorney General’s Office for review. There is no further information available at this time pending the Attorney General’s Office review.”

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said their review is expected to conclude shortly.

Village President Deborah Wright said Tuesday that trustees are still in the dark about the investigation and what prompted it.

The police department has been understaffed for close to a year and remaining officers are working hundreds of hours in overtime, the newspaper reported.

There’s also been frequent turnover in leadership.

A new acting department chief, Sgt. David Bemis, was named Monday night. The previous acting chief quit after three months to return to his former job as the full-time fire chief. The longtime police chief, Ron Lake, has been out since November and is set to retire March 1.