Peter Bevere seeks county prosecutor job
MIDDLEBURY — Attorney Peter Bevere has already prosecuted cases in Chittenden and Rutland counties.
Now he wants to perform that job closer to his Middlebury home. So Bevere, 44, has decided to challenge incumbent Addison County State’s Attorney Dennis Wygmans this November. Bevere recently filed his nomination papers to run as an independent against Wygmans, a Democrat.
“It’s a position I’ve always been interested in,” Bevere, the current chief deputy prosecutor in Rutland County, said during a recent phone interview. “I think I’m now at a stage in my career where I’ve developed a lot of great experience and our kids are a little older now … I think I’m in a position, from a family standpoint, where I think this is a good time to do it.”
With the Aug. 8 deadline for independents to file nominations papers, Bevere and Wygmans will likely be the only names on the November ballot.
Bevere and his wife, Kelly, have lived in Middlebury since 2003. Both are Middlebury College graduates. Kelly Bevere is an assistant athletic director at her alma mater and is in her 13th season as head coach of its softball team.
Peter Bevere graduated from the New England School of Law in Boston in 2001. His first job out of law school was as an assistant district attorney with the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s office. After two years in the role, he followed Kelly to Middlebury after she landed her job at the college.
“We’d always come back (to visit) and would say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to live here,” Peter Bevere recalled.
Now they do. And while Kelly has been knocking it out of the park as a softball coach (NESCAC tournament appearances in six of the past eight seasons), Peter has been making his mark as a prosecutor — primarily in the categories of crimes against women and children.
His first job in Vermont was as an attorney with Rutland-based Meub Associates, where he did his clerkship requirement for admission to the Vermont Bar. He quickly moved on to the role of domestic violence prosecutor for the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office. After three years in that job, he transitioned back to private practice, as an associate with English, Carroll & Boe in Middlebury.
In 2011, Bevere decided to return to prosecuting. He joined the Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office, where he’s been ever since.
His sights are now squarely set on the top prosecutor’s job in Addison County. He acknowledged it would dramatically reduce his daily commute while allowing him to make a difference in the county in which he and his spouse are raising their two children.
“I want to serve our community,” Bevere said. “Addison County has been an important part of our lives. I think I bring a lot of experience to the position and I think that experience — including in the private sector — would allow me to collaborate with law enforcement and the different agencies in the community. I want to do my part to make sure Addison County is a safe place to live and work.”
His priorities for the job include a broader working relationship between the state’s attorney’s office and its community partners in dealing with offenders and victims of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence and with sex crimes and crimes against children — that’s where I’ve been dedicating the majority of my career as a prosecutor,” he said. “I want to make sure we’re working very closely with groups like the (Vermont) Department for Children & Families to ensure the safety of the children in our community. One of my goals — and always has been — is to seek tough sentences for offenders who commit acts of sexual violence and domestic violence, and for those who harm children.”
If elected, Bevere plans to have a member of his staff “work very closely” with the Addison County Unit for Special Investigations, sometimes referred to as the “SIU,” and with local police departments.
He acknowledged the county already has a deputy prosecutor assigned to domestic/sexual violence cases, but he believes that position should “spend time at the SIU, working with the detectives as cases come in, being there as a constant resource to bounce (ideas) off of…. We do that here in Rutland County, and I can see how well that works.”
At the same time, Bevere wants the office to “have good relationships with groups like WomenSafe. We want to make sure that victims are receiving all the help and resources they can get.”
Vermont has been struggling to come up with enough resources and programs to serve a growing number of citizens struggling with mental health issues. Regional hospitals — like Porter Medical Center — are being asked to temporarily lodge some mental health patients due to a lack of beds statewide.
If elected, Bevere plans to reach out to area nonprofits, the courts and the defense bar to “develop protocols for attacking the mental health crisis in this state.”
“Mental health isn’t just an issue for offenders, it’s an issue for victims,” he said. “As someone who’s victim-oriented, I’d like to see protocols in place so we are getting services to everyone involved.”
He’d also like the state’s attorneys office to get more involved in preventing drug-related crime. Court dockets throughout the state are replete with cases in which drug addiction has been a direct or peripheral cause of the alleged crimes.
“We have a drug epidemic,” Bevere said. “I’ve seen the effects (of drug abuse) in Rutland County, but I’ve also seen what can happen when a community comes together to do something about it. I look forward to fostering relationships with our community partners to find ways to not only address addiction issues with offenders, but ensure victims of these crimes aren’t being forgotten in the process.”
While he believes the court system should help place drug-addicted offenders on a path to recovery, he vowed to push for tough sentences for those convicted of selling drugs in the county.
“The people bringing drugs into our community need to be dealt with appropriately,” he said.
Bevere said it made perfect sense for him to run for the top prosecutor’s job as an independent candidate.
“I’ve always considered myself to be an independent,” Bevere said. “I like to view the issue and make my own decision on it. And as a prosecutor, it’s important that you’re non-partisan. Our job is to enforce the law.”
The Independent published a candidate profile of Bevere’s opponent, incumbent Addison County State’s Attorney Dennis Wygmans, in the June 18 edition.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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