Hardwick Select Board choice

To the Editor:

With the upcoming elections for select board members I'm very concerned that we could end up with a board that it is so dysfunctional that it may not be able to perform its duties. Joe LaPorte, who lost his town position less than a year ago and filed suit against the town, should not be elected and in fact would not be eligible to run for a period of three years in the vast majority of Vermont towns. Coultis and Wheeler were leaders in the attempt to re-hire LaPorte this fall. Certainly within their right, but it's within our right as voters to prevent a LaPorte coalition from allowing the board to get on with their important work.

On another subject, last year then-Chief LaPorte spoke at town meeting on the need for there to be two officers present on calls. This makes sense, however, that which appears to make sense is often not the sensible path. Studies have been conducted (see Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink") that indicate that an officer on his or her own is less likely to shoot a gun and less likely to be shot. Surprising, but an officer on his or her own slows things down. They read body language and facial expressions better as they evaluate the situation. They are less likely to overreact and the machismo factor of a partner watching doesn't figure into the equation. (Sorry if this seems sexist, but the machismo factor is a reality in police work and the military, for both sexes.) Perhaps the scheduling and needs of the department need to be reconsidered for the safety of the community and the officers themselves.

Joyce C. Mandeville

East Hardwick, Vt.

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