Vergennes police chief updates drug fighting efforts

VERGENNES — Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel spoke to the Vergennes Lions at their meeting on Dec. 4. He commented that he is working with “some of the best police officers he has ever known.” He commented that they work hard and take offenses personally, trying hard to solve whatever crime has taken place. He said there are 10 officers (six full-time and four part-time) plus one dog in the department. He said a number of his officers are course instructors for many different aspects of police work.

Chief Merkel said they made 60 drug arrests last year, and the unfortunate part is that there were that many arrests to make. He said that 22 young people that he had dealt with in the past are no longer around due to drug overdose deaths. He said, unfortunately, Vermont is No. 1 in the country for narcotic abuse. He said what is needed are treatment centers. Chief Merkel said the thing he wants most is to see kids off drugs.

Chief Merkel said he is very proud of the relationship that the Vergennes Police Department has with the Vermont State Police and the other area police departments. They all work together well and support each other when help is needed.

The chief thanked the citizens of Vergennes for the wonderful support they have given his department since he became chief. He commented on the new station that is expected to be completed in March with 4,611 square feet of space. He spoke about the various rooms in the station and the added security it will provide officers and the public. He spoke about having received close to $300,000 worth of updated equipment through grants at no cost to Vergennes. He also mentioned that the department will be getting a new canine dog to allow Kato to retire.

Lions Club President Shanon Atkins thanked Chief Merkel for all he has done for Vergennes and the surrounding towns.

Editor’s note: This article was contributed by Larry Simino.

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