Scott Names Jennifer Morrison Vermont's Top Cop | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Scott Names Jennifer Morrison Vermont's Top Cop


Published July 28, 2022 at 10:33 a.m.

  • Courtesy of the Department of Public Safety
  • Jennifer Morrison
Gov. Phil Scott has chosen Jennifer Morrison to lead the Vermont Department of Public Safety, making her the first woman to serve in the role.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Morrison said in a statement on Thursday. “There is much to be done as we continue to modernize our approach to public safety. I look forward to learning from the outstanding professionals at DPS and leveraging 30+ years of experience and relationships to benefit all Vermonters.”

As top cop, Morrison will oversee the Vermont State Police and the Division of Fire Safety, in addition to the state forensic lab, Vermont Emergency Management and the Vermont Crime Information Center.

Morrison joined the department in October 2020 and a year later was promoted to deputy commissioner, serving under former DPS chief Michael Schirling. She was named interim commissioner last month when Schirling resigned to run the University of Vermont's public safety program.

Morrison's law enforcement career spans three decades. She joined the Burlington Police Department in 1990, rising through the ranks to become deputy chief in 2012. The following year, she was named chief of the Colchester Police Department and served there until 2018.
Morrison returned to the Queen City in 2020, after a social media scandal forced the resignations of two Burlington police chiefs. She served as interim chief until June 2020, just before the city council voted to reduce the police force through attrition. Morrison, who was on family leave at the time, intended to return to the role until the city could find a permanent chief but reconsidered after the council's cop-cutting vote.

Scott lauded Morrison's accomplishments in his statement.

"Commissioner Morrison has demonstrated a deep commitment to service, dedicated to improving her communities and keeping Vermonters safe,” he said. “She has been a great asset to our team and will continue to excel.”