SWANTON — The conversation never let up at a two-hour public forum on prevention Tuesday evening at the Missisquoi Valley Union High School.
The Swanton Enhancement Project’s Task Force for the Reduction of Substance Abuse and Franklin County Caring Communities organized the forum.
Jolinda LaClair, the Vermont Director of Drug Prevention Policy, and Commander Matthew Prouty, of the Rutland City Police Department, were its keynote speakers.
Prouty discussed Project VISION, a community initiative in Rutland that LaClair called “a great model” for prevention efforts.
The City of Rutland “had just about had it” in the early 2000s, Prouty said. Crime riddled the city, specifically drug crime, epitomized by the death of Carly Ferro, a 17-year-old “rising star,” as Prouty put it. She crossed a parking lot after work, toward her dad’s car, and a car struck her at 65 mph. Its operator was “huffing,” Prouty said.
He said that incident led to a “galvanizing situation,” in which the city’s police department reached out to community health organizations to share resources, and create a vast network of public safety workers trying to help people and opportunities “falling through the gaps,” lost between bureaucratic lines.
Prouty said sharing resources is “where the magic happens.”
For more on Project VISION and last night’s forum, pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.