In 2018, when a BPD officer training at the Vermont Police Academy was admitted to the hospital with a concussion, we looked into it and learned a scenario involved unexpectedly punching recruits hard in the head if they looked away from a suspect. To this day, officers who don't want to be publicly named still describe the way this scenario injured them. Many of the injured were women or smaller men who were new to policing, they were afraid to question what was being done to them, and the instructors most often causing concussions were trained fighters. One officer came to me in in tears, knowing what happened to them was wrong but not wanting to cause any trouble.
It was very hard for me to go public with these allegations, but we had given he Academy months to address the situation and they declined to conduct an internal investigation. The Academy's basic attitude was that they knew how to make cops in their time-tested ways and the agencies that supplied them with trainees should keep out of it. One of my officers sued, the Academy settled, and they stopped punching inattentive recruits in the head. Recruits are in an agency's care. How we train them sets an example and shows how much we value them.
"Trainers... appeared to take 'pleasure in delivering extremely hard force blows to the heads of trainees as a means of punishing trainees.'”
"Three additional law enforcement officers have come forward reporting serious injuries sustained during training drills at the Vermont Police Academy."
"Though the council originally declined to conduct an investigation into the practice.. they agreed to request an 'outside, independent investigation on the hitchhiker scenario, along with any other training exercises involving use of force.'"