For years, members of the city leadership discredited findings of racial bias while continuously increasing the police budget. Advocating for raising taxes instead of laying off officers, the Vergennes Police Chief singled out a domestic violence victim in front of a packed hall to instill fear. After the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, discussions of police oversight turned personal, forcing the mayor and three city council members to resign; the city was left with no functioning government.
In the end, The Price of Safety stitches together a discussion about the issues facing Vermont’s smallest city through interviews with residents, scholars of race and policing, and elected officials. As conversations surrounding policing and racism evolve nationally, we watch a community reckon with a vital question: what does it mean to be safe?