Statement from Mayor Miro Weinberger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
March 26, 2021 
Contact: Olivia LaVecchia 
(802) 734-0617 

Statement from Mayor Miro Weinberger

Burlington, VT – Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement:

“I was very disappointed to learn from reporting today that much of the language in Kyle Dodson’s final report was not his own. It is critical that City employees follow professional standards regarding citations and sourcing so that our work can be evaluated and judged, and so that innovations and ideas are properly credited. 

“I also must make it clear that Kyle is no longer working for the City and is not speaking for me with his reported criticism of “Blacks and activists.” I approach these conversations with an open mind, hope and optimism for consensus, and a commitment on principle to the belief that everyone involved in these very challenging debates is seeking to create progress and a better community.

“While these errors are upsetting, I do want to speak to the full scope of Kyle’s tenure with the City. I didn’t hire Kyle solely to write a report. Kyle spent the last six months organizing conversations between police officers and BIPOC community members, positively impacting the internal culture of the Police Department, and providing much-needed additional capacity for the Administration at a critical time. In the latter part of Kyle’s time with the City, I did publicly charge him with addressing a narrow range of questions in a report, which he attempted to do in this document. In addition to my concerns about the originality of this document, I also would have liked to see a report that was more detailed and actionable.

“Another critique of the report that I have heard since it was circulated earlier this week is that it does not lay out a comprehensive vision of where the City need to go from here with police transformation. That was not the report that I asked Kyle to write, however, there is a pressing need for such a vision. We are working toward that vision through the operational and functional assessment of the Police Department that a consultant has just begun and other planning efforts.

“Further, I want the public to know that I continue to believe that public safety in Burlington does need to be transformed structurally and culturally, that we must reckon with law enforcement’s terrible history of racial injustice, and that Kyle’s report is in no way a full summary of the work ahead that we must do as a City and a community. I believe a large part of the Burlington public also wants this change. I know that despite considerable progress on police transformation since 2015, the processes we have attempted in the last couple of years, including the appointment of Kyle, have not yet achieved a shared vision of what public safety should be in the future. 

“That is an urgent problem that must be addressed. I am committed to persevering and doing the hard work necessary to get through the current discord to find that consensus by collaborating with the City Council, the Police Commission, the Racial Equity Inclusion and Belonging Department, the Police Department, and the public in the months and years ahead.  In the wake of the election, I am currently in the midst of reviewing and reflecting on what is next in this work, and plan to share further thoughts on that in my State of the City address on April 5. Further, I expect that the conversation about getting public safety right will be a crucial one in Burlington for years to come, and I will do everything in my power to make that conversation fruitful, unifying, and successful.”

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Press Release Date: 
03/26/2021
City Department: 
Mayor's Office