January 31, 2019
January 31, 2019
With two bomb threats recently phoned in to the Springfield Probation & Parole Office, and another recent "veiled threat" against DCF employees in Morrisville, VSEA is again reminding members about the BGS’ eAlert system to report threats. VSEA is also working to assess what threat alert system is currently in place for DCF employees (different than the BGS system), some telling VSEA that a link provided for alerts connects to a dead webpage.
Seven Days published a piece titled, "Vermont State Workers in Springfield ‘Do Not Feel Safe After Bomb Threats"
From the story:
[VSEA Executive Director Steve] Howard said security problems at state buildings are common, and trained security staff should be stationed in every state office. He said the August 2015 murder of DCF social worker Lara Sobel in a Barre parking lot started a conversation about security in state offices, but didn’t lead to much action.
“There are whole buildings without any security staff at all, there are parking lots that aren’t secured,” Howard said. “When they have a bomb threat, it’s chaotic and there’s confusion everywhere.”
A similar communication breakdown happened Tuesday in Morrisville, according to Howard. State workers there noticed a police cruiser driving repeatedly past the building and asked their managers what was happening, he said. Only then, according to Howard, did managers send out an email explaining that police were on site because someone made a “veiled threat” against DCF during a court appearance, and the person was expected for an appointment at those state offices Tuesday afternoon.
Howard said workers should be told when there’s a threat against their workplace, adding that communication alone won’t solve the problem.
“We need significant investment in trained law enforcement in the state office buildings, particularly those that have DCF offices,” he said. “We are working to get our probation and parole officers the opportunity to be trained to carry defensive weapons. And that actually does make a lot of the state office buildings a little bit more secure because there would be people there who are trained to deal with those situations.”
[Gov. Scott’s spokesperson Rebecca] Kelley said the governor’s office was looking into the assertion that the Springfield building’s intercom system wasn’t working properly during the recent bomb threats. She said state money for security is designated for new security measures as well as maintenance of existing security infrastructure.
Photo: Seven Days
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