A human resource

A recent broadcast news report, filed by WCAX-TVs Kristin Carlson, claims that Vermont police are stretched thin. In addition to... (a) shooting and chase in Rutland and Addison counties, Vermont has had two murders since (last) Friday, she reported. Public Safety Commissioner Tom Tremblay says even though it's been unusually busy with some overtime needed, police have been able to respond to all these crimes. While we understand how small, rural police forces might be stretched thin, we wonder why some local, highly experienced police resources are going untapped? This paper learned a few months back that Addison County is blessed with a number of retired, highly experienced police officers men and women who appear willing (and in most cases able) to be coaxed out of retirement in order to pitch in as volunteers to assist local police when needed. A handful of these officers, we also learned, served in large metropolitan areas. They were trained in urban mean streets and know how to react under crisis situations. Surely they have some use to us here in rural Vermont? During the search for missing Middlebury College student Nicholas Garza, we learned that at least two capable (and highly motivated) ex cops living in Brandon and Middlebury werent invited by state officials to pitch-in as volunteer searchers. Perhaps these retired officers should have been more assertive? Maybe they should have more openly offered their expertise to state or local officials? Regardless, for whatever reason, they were never called up as non-paid backup resources during that sad search along Otter Creek. Please understand that were not making a judgement call here and there was probably a logical reason for the decision not use these ex cops but this one example gives an impression that retired people, especially those with professional resumes, have no place here. Were not sure if some of this may stem from an unwillingness to work with, or train, volunteers but when a retired professional is willing to offer his or her expertise, our public servants should be willing to find something useful for these folks to do. Retired medical doctors are occasionally tapped to help out in overstressed medical centers and hospitals. Retired attorneys may be called in for advice by younger colleagues. So why cant this happen more often in the public sector? We see too much seasoned experience go to waste in Vermonts public sector whether the issues here relate to agism, gender bias, urban versus rural ways, out-of-date ideas versus new methods, or even politics, its all a real shame. Sure methods and circumstances change, but sound, seasoned judgement never does. We must make an extra effort to tap retired, non-paid human resources. Retired people in our community want to be of service and feel valued. From our viewpoint, and in these budget cutting times, no public agency is above welcoming volunteers with experience. Lets put our preconceptions aside and put seasoned pros to work to benefit the entire community. Lou Varricchio

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