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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 is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.