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2017 Comprehensive Safety Finalist
The University of Vermont Police Services (UVM) has taken multiple steps to improve the general safety of their officers while also improving their well-being. Officers have been issued exterior ballistic vest carriers to improve officers’ safety and health by redistributing the weight of their equipment and alleviating lower back and hip injuries.
The UVM-Police Services has also created a firm policy on the use of body-worn cameras and has put their policy on their website to educate the community they serve. This allows both the officers and the community to know exactly how the cameras are to be used and in what situations they will or will not be turned on.
Mass-casualty “roll out” bags have been added in every officer’s vehicle and Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) is carried on each officer’s person. All officers are trained in the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) model for active shooters, which includes rescue taskforce partnering with their local fire department and Emergency Medical Services. All officers also received training in combat emergency medical care for themselves, fellow officers and for citizen casualty care.
To improve safety for officers transporting prisoners, the Department reversed the seatbelt and have a place to clip the belt potion to the front section of the cage so officers don’t have to reach across prisoners in order to seatbelt them in.
UVM-PS has an ongoing relationship with a health maintenance physical therapy company who are available on sight twice a month to all employees to treat and educate all members on proper ergonomics, stretching, and physical activity. For psychological health, all supervisors are trained in recognition of critical incident stress reactions. The department has required annual wellness check-ins with the department clinician. The department has also recently trained six peer support personnel among their officers.