Accountability starts with answers

Upper Valley DSA

June 2, 2021

The recent arrest of a Lebanon police lieutenant is alarming. He is alleged to have used his position to harass and threaten a civilian, using the specter of force and violence - a nauseating abuse of power.

This man was responsible for directing significant operations for the Lebanon Police Department, including being the tactical team commander. Given what is publicly known about his entanglement in the Scott Traught assault case, it is even possible that he had a disciplinary record prior to being promoted to lieutenant. 

This incident calls into question the operations of Lebanon police dating back years. What investigations or tactical operations were conducted or influenced by this man who is alleged to have so willingly abused his power? How can we have any confidence that department staff have the community’s best interests at heart when this man was elevated into a leadership position? Most significantly, how can we continue to grant such powers to a police force knowing this can easily happen again? 

The only way to ensure this does not happen again is to reduce the scope, size, and power of the Department. In theory, we as residents are supposed to have this ability. Unfortunately, under the current system, the City Manager (currently a former police officer) can negotiate the Police Department’s contract in secret, present it to City Council to be rubber-stamped, and then use that contract as a cudgel to counteract any changes to the Police budget that are proposed by residents. 

To-date, we have not seen any public statements from the Police Department or City Manager about this incident. I am sure they hope to sweep it under the rug. It’s time for residents to regain control over these public employees, instead of having the police run the City.

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