Vermont Sheriffs’ Association calls for 'immediate resignation' of Franklin County sheriff
The Vermont Sheriffs’ Association is urging Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore to immediately resign. Their call comes days after a statewide oversight panel permanently revoked Grismore’s law enforcement certification.
“Sheriff Grismore must put Franklin County's needs first and the needs of the state of Vermont's first, before his own, and step down immediately,” said Mark Anderson, Windham County Sheriff and president of the Vermont Sheriffs’ Association, during a press conference on Monday.
The Vermont Sheriffs’ Association, which represents all Vermont sheriffs except the Essex County Sheriff, hasn’t previously weighed in on whether Grismore should remain in office. On Friday at an association meeting, seven of Vermont’s 14 sheriffs voted to call on Grismore to resign, Anderson said. The other sheriffs, including Grismore, weren’t at the meeting.
The sheriffs who voted Friday were Anderson, Chittenden County Sheriff Dan Gamelin, Bennington County Sheriff James Gulley, Orleans County Sheriff Jennifer Harlow, Caledonia County Sheriff James Hemond, Windsor County Sheriff Ryan Palmer and Washington County Sheriff Marc Poulin.
“Sheriff Grismore continues to defend his actions ostentatiously, with no remorse, reflection, or opportunity to consider alternative resolutions,” Anderson said during Monday’s press conference.
The Vermont Criminal Justice Council determined that Grismore used excessive force when he kicked Jeremy Burrows twice in the groin while Burrows was handcuffed and shackled. Grismore, who was a deputy sheriff at the time, was fired after the August 2022 incident, but he refused to drop out his bid for sheriff, despite bipartisan calls for him to stop his campaign. He was elected in November 2022.
Grismore has defended his actions and said the kick was in self-defense because Burrows was attempting to spit on the deputies.
Grismore is also facing a criminal simple assault charge and a legislative impeachment inquiry related to the incident.
He told the impeachment committee on Monday that he has no plans to step down.
“I’m accountable to the people that voted me into the office,” Grismore said during his testimony. “Not accountable to the political system, I’m not accountable to what the criminal justice council thinks is right and not right.”
“I’m accountable to the people that voted me into the office. Not accountable to the political system, I’m not accountable to what the criminal justice council thinks is right and not right.”Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore
During Monday’s testimony, Grismore was questioned about the department’s financial practices. Vermont State Police have been investigating financial issues at the department.
Grismore served as the department’s bookkeeper while he was a deputy. The impeachment committee questioned Grismore about several issues, including allegations that he was improperly compensated through his state retirement account.
Timothy Doherty, an attorney at Downs Rachlin Martin hired by the impeachment committee, asked Grismore about whether he withdrew about $20,000 from his state retirement account and then later, if the sheriff’s department paid that money back into the account.
“You took that money out for your retirement benefit —and we saw at least one check that showed that,” Doherty said. “And if the department later had to put that money back into your account, it seems to me that you got doubly compensated.”
“I don’t even know what my retirement looks like,” Grismore responded. “I don’t know if that money came back in, I haven’t seen that, I’ve got no evidence of that.”
The committee also took testimony on Monday from former Franklin County Sheriff Roger Langevin, Windham County Sheriff Mark Anderson and Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux. After Grismore’s testimony, the committee went into executive session to get advice from their legal counsel.
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