Trustees Deliberating on Police Officer Termination

Woodstock Village Trustees met yesterday morning to consider a termination proposal of Woodstock Police Department’s Officer Jennifer Hutchins.

We do not know the nature of the allegations made against her, since this took place in executive session, although some may involve a recent incident while she was a volunteer with Ski Runners at Suicide Six in South Pomfret.

Going into the hearing, Hutchins’ attorney lamented the fact that some who could have come forward to support her have now said they do not want to get involved.

As you know, Woodstock Early Bird is a supporter of Officer Jen and her public service here. We believe that notwithstanding the specifics of that Suicide Six incident that her overall record of contribution to the community should be considered. It is a shame that those who have benefitted from her kindness and interest, and her involvement in many community activities (as well as emergency response and public safety) should now let this process continue without stepping up to assist.

We understand Village Trustees will meet next week to make a decision in the matter.

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Betty on May 3, 2013 at 08:41

    I agree with you Julia- Jen is an asset to the community and it would be a shame to lose her. All involved should speak up, so that she gets a fair hearing.


  2. Posted by Chris Balcer on May 3, 2013 at 08:45

    Why is matter being discussed behind closed doors? Why are there closed doors to begin with?


  3. Posted by Casey on May 3, 2013 at 09:02

    This is so sad to me, Jen is an amazing woman and her brave efforts should be getting praise, not punishment. I’ve been witness to her commitment to not only her job, but to her town and to all the folks that make up this town. Jen, you’ve got my vote!


  4. Posted by Dave Brown on May 3, 2013 at 09:16

    Jen gave me a $200 ticket for having an expired inspection sticker — and I’m still a supporter of her efforts to bring common sense to policing in Woodstock. Come on guys! We don’t want to lose this valuable officer!


  5. Posted by Chris Silva on May 3, 2013 at 09:30

    If you’re going to defend her record here, don’t you think it’s then appropriate to outline the “Incident” that occurred or the specific allegations made against her that would warrant a closed door meeting to discuss termination, at which lawyers were present! How could you ever expect a rational discourse without ANY of the facts.


    • Chris,

      I would refer you to an earlier post on this subject which goes into some detail about what is known. There is also informative comment from at least one parent who describes his point of view.

      To be clear that incidence is being investigated by Vermont State Police and they have NOT issued any finding as far as we know.

      The Woodstock Police are not part of that investigation.

      It is unclear as yet why Chief Robbie Blish is asking for the termination. It may or may not be directly related to the ski runner incident.

      While we understand the need for disciplinary action if VSP finds an abuse of authority we nonetheless stand behind Hutchins given the overall whole of her record.



  6. Time to subpoena reluctant witnesses?

    The Trustees should keep in mind that, even though they are not
    a judicial body, they are performing a quasi-judicial function.

    In these circumstances, it is even more important
    not only that justice be done,
    but that justice be seen to be done.

    From a distance, and perhaps I’m wrong about this,
    but this case has about it a whiff of lynching….


  7. Posted by Bev and Scott on May 3, 2013 at 11:22

    We both agree. Jennifer is awesome! What can we do to support her?


  8. Posted by Toni Richie on May 3, 2013 at 11:41

    If Officer Jen abused her authority as a cop, then she deserves an appropriate reprimand from the police department rather than termination. If she abused her authority as a volunteer Ski Runner, then the Ski Runner folks should be dealing with this; not the Village. Jen is a dedicated, well respected police officer, and an asset to the town. The PD needs her. The community needs her.


  9. Posted by Careen on May 3, 2013 at 12:59

    I have personal experiences with Jen in her professional capacity and I can honestly say that her actions may have saved my life . She is a true advocate for the public she serves. She may have made some mistakes along the way but I am absolutely willing to stand up and say that i feel it would be a serious mistake to lose her. And I too am a ski runner volunteer for many years and can tell you there have been plenty of situations where I have disciplined participants to keep all involved safe . It’s one of the more important things you do as a ski runner volunteer- keep the community’s children safe … I will be the trustees meeting to stand up for what I believe in…


  10. Posted by Joanne Boyle on May 3, 2013 at 13:34

    I also would like to know what can be done to support Jen.
    In my interactions with her as an officer she has been always been professional, intelligent, and compassionate.
    Woodstock needs more officers with her respect for the people she serves!


  11. Posted by Molly on May 6, 2013 at 16:53

    I agree with Bill Boardman to subpoena the witnesses. Jen Hutchins has been an
    exceptional officer in any dealings I have had with her. She has always shown total
    professionalism and compassion the two times I met with her to report an incident. Justice cannot be served nor is it fair to keep the charges against Officer Hutchins
    in the dark: Open those closed doors and give us ALL the facts, not just a few one-sided complaints.


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