Montpelier Police Chief Brian Peete told this paper he welcomes criticism of the police department, but “when it gets to the point that the criticism becomes vitriol, then there’s a problem. Then it’s not constructive, and then it’s painting a picture or generalization that’s dangerous.” He said conversations about disbanding the police last summer were not coming from a “positive place.”

As someone who contributed to such conversations, I can affirm that nearly all public “criticism” was rooted in the community’s desire for affordable housing, food security, mutual aid and mental health care from unarmed professionals, as alternatives to policing as we know it. What are these desires rooted in, if not positivity?

Furthermore, much of the conversations Chief Peete references were directed at City Council, regarding how the City of Montpelier budgets its funds. They were not directed at the police department itself. And they were certainly not vitriol, which the dictionary defines as “cruel and bitter.”

If wanting a community that is housed, fed and healthy is “cruel and bitter,” it is clear that Chief Peete is not actually open to criticism of any kind.

Stephanie Gomory


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