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Governor Phil Scott Announces Appointment of Jennifer Morrison as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety

October 29, 2021

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of Jennifer Morrison as the deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Morrison will lead key components of DPS, which oversees statewide fire safety and building code compliance, the detection and prevention of crime, participates in searches for lost and missing persons, and assists in responding to statewide and local disasters and emergencies, among other missions.

A Vermont public servant for more than 30 years, Morrison has spent the past year as the Department of Public Safety’s executive director of policy development, where she focused on the Department’s ongoing commitment to modernize policing statewide.  

“Now more than ever, public safety professions need credible, experienced leaders with a track record of listening to, and engaging with, their communities,” said Governor Scott. “With a long and accomplished career in Vermont law enforcement and public safety, Jennifer brings valuable perspective to this new role.” 

As deputy commissioner, Morrison will supervise Vermont Emergency Management, the Vermont Crime Information Center, the Division of Fire Safety, and DPS’s response to public records requests. She also will serve as a liaison to the Vermont Legislature, support the commissioner of the Department, and perform other duties as assigned. She is believed to be the first woman to serve as DPS’s deputy commissioner. 

Prior to joining DPS in October 2020, Morrison spent three decades with progressively responsible experience in Vermont’s law enforcement community. She joined the Burlington Police Department as an officer in 1990 and advanced through the ranks, ultimately becoming deputy chief. In 2013, she accepted the position of chief of the Colchester Police Department, a role she held for the next five years before retiring. In retirement she worked as a consultant and instructor before returning to the Burlington Police Department in January 2020 as interim police chief for six months. 

“I’m looking forward to continuing to serve the Vermont community and bring my experience and skills to bear to improve public safety for all Vermonters,” Morrison said. “Serving as deputy commissioner will allow me to leverage my long-standing and numerous relationships for the good of Vermonters. This is an exciting opportunity to continue reimagining what public safety looks like and engaging more stakeholders in that vital work.” 

Away from the office, Morrison lives in the Lake Champlain Islands and enjoys hiking, biking, weightlifting, cooking, reading, and tending to her many houseplants. She also has served as a consultant and instructor for the International Association of Chiefs of Police for 10 years. 

Morrison begins her new role November 15. She succeeds Christopher Herrick, who has been appointed commissioner of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

A photo of Morrison can be found by clicking here.