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Jennifer Morrison is the first woman to lead Vermont's Dept. of Public Safety. Here's her vision

A female police chief speaks at a podium, framed by an audience of out-of-focus officers.
Vermont State Police, courtesy
/
Jennifer Morrison, pictured here in her role as Colchester Police Chief in 2018, will replace Michael Schirling, who resigned from the post earlier this year.

Jennifer Morrison is the new commissioner of Vermont's Department of Public Safety and the first woman to hold the post. This hour, we'll talk about her vision for the role, which includes overseeing the state police force, emergency management, fire safety and the state's forensic crime lab.

Our guest is:

  • Jennifer Morrison, commissioner of Vermont's Department of Public Safety

As the DPS Commissioner, Morrison will manage the state police force, fire safety division, search and rescue, and other public safety departments.
She told Vermont Edition she hopes to change the tone of the conversation around police reform in the future.

"We need to be at the table. We need to be able to have conversations that are not starting at a position of total polarization and finding common ground, so we can build a safer Vermont for everyone," she said.

Morrison also noted that there's an officer shortage not just in cities like Burlington, but statewide.

"We're going to be working very closely with all the towns and counties to combine our resources to address the staffing crisis that exists in law enforcement, and find our way forward," she said.

"We don't have the luxury of being focused on any one city or town in the state. We really have to look at the state as a whole."

Morrison has more than three decades of experience in law enforcement in Vermont.

Broadcast live at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Mikaela Lefrak joined VPR in summer 2021 as co-host and senior producer of 'Vermont Edition'. Prior to that, she was a reporter and host at WAMU in Washington, D.C.
Originally from Delaware, Matt moved to Alaska in 2010 for his first job in radio. He spent five years working as a radio and television reporter, radio producer, talk show host, and news director. His reporting received awards from the Alaska Press Club and the Alaska Broadcasters Association. Relocating to southwest Florida, he was a producer for television news and NPR member station WGCU for their daily radio show, Gulf Coast Live. He joined VPR in October 2017 as producer of Vermont Edition.