STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT REGARDING THE RELEASE ON BAIL OF JACK SAWYER
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Scott today issued the following statement regarding the release on bail of Jack Sawyer into the custody of his father, pending the continuation of court proceedings on two remaining charges. Sawyer was arrested in February relating to his plans for a school shooting:
“As I’ve said, I am extremely concerned and frustrated that our current laws have allowed for the release of an individual who – as the Court record shows – intended, and may still intend, to carry out a horrific crime.
“Since we first learned of his potential release on bail, my priority has been to do all we can do to enhance the safety of the Fair Haven school and community, and we stand ready to do so.
“My office, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Vermont State Police (VSP) are providing the following support – among other precautions – to the Fair Haven Police Department and the Fair Haven community:
- VSP and the State’s Attorney have sought and obtained an Extreme Risk Protection Order pursuant to recently enacted S.221, which prohibits Mr. Sawyer from purchasing or possessing dangerous weapons, including firearms;
- VSP is in regular communication with Fair Haven Union High School (FHUHS) officials on safety issues;
- VSP is coordinating with the Fair Haven Police Department on resources and manpower;
- VSP is engaging with Mr. Sawyer’s family, who have been cooperative;
- VSP will assist the Fair Haven Police Department by providing the following additional resources:
- Personnel to augment the Student Resource Officer (SRO);
- State Police cruisers to be periodically posted at the schools;
- Periodic presence of a plain clothes trooper posted in and around the school;
- Increase in State Police patrols;
- Work to enhance radio communications within the FHUHS;
- Assistance with enhancing the emergency response protocols; and
- In addition to the Fair Haven Police Department and Vermont State Police, seven other law enforcement agencies, in both Vermont and New York, are prepared to provide resources as needed to ensure safety.
“Again, the fact that an individual with an expressed intent, plan and means to commit mass murder, as the Court record makes clear, cannot be held accountable under Vermont law is unacceptable. My Administration will continue to work with the Legislature to amend Vermont’s criminal law to criminalize substantial steps to commit mass violence against schools and other public locations, and I appreciate the Senate’s unanimous vote earlier this week, advancing one of these measures.
“I want the Fair Haven community to know we stand with them, and I personally share their frustration with the system. I promise, we are doing everything we can to keep the school and community safe.”