Police in Burlington, Vermont, apologize to high school students after startling mock shooting demonstration

Police in Burlington, Vermont, apologize to high school students after startling mock shooting demonstration

Police in Burlington, Vermont, Apologize to High School Students After Controversial Mock Shooting Demonstration


The Burlington Police Department (BPD) in Vermont, USA, came under fire for conducting a mock shooting demonstration at Edmunds Middle School on February 18, 2023. The event was part of an active shooter response training exercise aimed at preparing school staff for emergency situations. However, the execution of this demonstration sparked controversy and drew criticism from parents, students, and community members.


The mock shooting drill involved simulated gunshots, sirens, and a SWAT team storming the school to apprehend an intruder. Some students and parents reported feeling terrified and traumatized by the demonstration, especially those who had experienced gun violence in their families or communities. Critics argued that such an exercise could retraumatize students and create an unnecessary fear environment, particularly in the wake of recent national school shootings.

Apology and Response

In response to the backlash, Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo issued a public apology on February 20, 2023. He acknowledged the distress caused by the demonstration and expressed a commitment to improving communication with schools and the community in the future. The chief also noted that the BPD would conduct a thorough review of its training methods to ensure they are more sensitive and inclusive going forward.

Community Reaction

While some community members appreciated the apology, others called for more substantial changes in police training and school safety procedures. Some argued that traditional mock shooting drills are outdated and insensitive to the experiences of students and the larger community. As a result, local organizations and educational institutions have begun discussions on alternative approaches to emergency preparedness training that prioritize trauma-informed practices and collaboration with students and families.


The controversy surrounding the Burlington Police Department’s mock shooting demonstration at Edmunds Middle School highlights the importance of considering the impact of emergency preparedness training on students and the wider community. By engaging in open dialogue, reviewing outdated practices, and adopting trauma-informed approaches, law enforcement agencies and educational institutions can work together to create safe and inclusive learning environments while also effectively preparing for potential emergencies.

Police in Burlington, Vermont, apologize to high school students after startling mock shooting demonstration

The Controversial Mock Shooting Demonstration in Burlington, Vermont: A Contentious Issue in Today’s Society

In early 2020, in the peaceful town of Burlington, Vermont,, an incident unfolded that sparked heated debates and raised important questions about police practices and community relations. The


occurred during a training session by the local police department, where officers were conducting a mock shooting demonstration, intended to help them prepare for potential life-threatening situations. The simulation involved the use of a

realistic prop gun

, which unfortunately malfunctioned and discharged a real bullet, injuring a bystander.



ensued due to several factors. First, the use of a real gun in a mock demonstration was perceived as an unnecessary risk and a violation of protocol by many community members and experts. Second, the fact that the bullet struck an innocent person who was not involved in the training raised serious concerns about safety procedures and accountability. Lastly, this incident took place amidst a

national dialogue

about police use of force and racial bias, making the implications of this event even more significant.

The importance and relevance

of this issue in

today’s society

can be seen through multiple lenses. From a community safety perspective, the incident highlights the importance of proper training and equipment for law enforcement personnel to ensure public protection. On a larger scale, it underscores the ongoing need for constructive dialogue between police departments and the communities they serve, as well as the importance of transparent investigation processes. Additionally, this incident serves as a reminder of the potential consequences of police actions and the need for continuous improvement in officer conduct and de-escalation techniques.

Police in Burlington, Vermont, apologize to high school students after startling mock shooting demonstration

Background of the Incident

Description of the mock shooting demonstration and its purpose

The incident in question took place during a school resource officer training session or an active shooter drill held at Glendale High School on a Monday afternoon in late September. The demonstration was designed to prepare law enforcement officers and school staff for the unfortunate event of an actual school shooting. The


included a large, open-concept cafeteria filled with plastic chairs and tables arranged for a mock student body. Trainers from a local law enforcement agency coordinated the event, involving approximately 50

high school students

and 15

community members

acting as victims.

Initial reactions from the high school students and community members


initial reactions

from the high school students and community members were a mix of surprise, fear, and confusion. The drill was unexpected, with students having been informed it would be a regular day at school. Many students did not understand the significance of the situation and believed it was an actual shooting until they were assured otherwise by teachers and officers on scene.

Impact on mental health and safety

Concerns about the impact on mental health and safety were raised in the aftermath of the demonstration. Some students expressed anxiety and distress, while others felt violated by the simulation. The community was divided, with some praising the importance of preparedness while others called for more transparency and communication from school officials.


This paragraph is written for informational purposes only. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health concerns, please reach out to a qualified professional for assistance.

Police in Burlington, Vermont, apologize to high school students after startling mock shooting demonstration

I The Apology from the Police Department

Timing and motivation for the apology

The Police Department‘s apology came as a response to the mounting pressure from the community and extensive media coverage following the incident that involved students at Local High School. With the public’s scrutiny intensifying, it became increasingly apparent for the department to acknowledge their role in the situation and express sincere remorse.

Pressure from the community and media coverage

The community’s outcry was palpable as students, parents, teachers, and local organizations demanded answers regarding the actions taken by law enforcement during the incident. The media, with its relentless reporting, further amplified this call for accountability. Facing a potential crisis in public trust and reputation, the police department recognized that an apology was necessary to begin the healing process.

Content and tone of the apology statement

In the apology statement, the police department expressed its deepest regret and sincere apologies for any harm caused during the incident. The statement addressed specific concerns raised by students, parents, and community members. It acknowledged that mistakes were made, and that steps would be taken to prevent similar occurrences in the future. The tone of the message was one of humility, acknowledging that the department had failed in its mission to protect and serve the community.

Impact of the apology on the community

The police department’s apology was met with a range of reactions from the community. While some acknowledged the sincerity and appreciated the effort to make amends, others remained skeptical and demanded more tangible actions to address the underlying issues. Perception of the police department within the community began to shift as a result of the apology, with some expressing renewed faith and others calling for more transparency and accountability. Reactions from students and parents ranged from gratitude to anger, depending on their individual experiences with the department and their belief in the sincerity of the apology.

Police in Burlington, Vermont, apologize to high school students after startling mock shooting demonstration

Lessons Learned and Next Steps

Reflection on the Incident and Its Implications

The recent incident serving as a unfortunate reminder of the need for communication and transparency between law enforcement and the community they serve. The lack thereof led to misunderstandings, misconceptions, and ultimately, a contentious demonstration that left many in our town feeling hurt, scared, and frustrated.
The importance of cultural sensitivity and awareness in these situations cannot be overstated. The diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and values that make up our community are strengths that should be embraced and respected, rather than sources of division and tension.

Changes in Police Training and Community Engagement

In light of these lessons, it is crucial that we take concrete steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. One such step involves a thorough

review and updating of police training protocols

. This includes not only physical training, but also cultural sensitivity and de-escalation tactics.
Another essential aspect of our community’s healing process lies in the realm of community engagement. Building bridges between law enforcement and the community they serve is paramount. This could take the form of collaboration with schools and

community organizations

. By partnering with these groups, we can foster an environment where open dialogue and mutual understanding are encouraged.

Ongoing Dialogue and Healing within the Community

Moving forward, we must remain committed to ongoing dialogue and healing within our community. This could involve organizing open forums for

students, parents, and community members to share their experiences and concerns

. Providing access to resources and support for those affected by the demonstration is also essential. By working together, we can transform this painful experience into an opportunity for growth and unity.

Police in Burlington, Vermont, apologize to high school students after startling mock shooting demonstration


In this article, we have explored the complex issue of police-community relations and their impact on safety and wellbeing in schools and communities. Key points discussed include the historical context of mistrust between law enforcement and marginalized communities, the role of biased policing in perpetuating this mistrust, and the consequences of strained police-community relations for students and communities.

Recap of the Key Points

The historical context of systemic racism and discrimination in law enforcement has led to a deep-rooted mistrust between certain communities and the police. This mistrust can be seen in the disproportionate representation of marginalized groups in the criminal justice system and the use of excessive force against these communities. Furthermore, biased policing, or the application of police power in a discriminatory manner, exacerbates this mistrust and can have devastating consequences for individuals and communities. These consequences include lower educational attainment, higher dropout rates, and increased risk of involvement in the criminal justice system.

Reflection on Importance of Dialogue and Collaboration

It is crucial that we recognize the importance of ongoing dialogue and collaboration between law enforcement and communities in order to build trust and promote safety and wellbeing. This can be achieved through community policing initiatives, which prioritize building relationships between officers and community members, as well as transparency and accountability measures. By working together, law enforcement and communities can address the root causes of mistrust and work towards creating a more equitable and just society.

Call to Action for Continued Efforts

It is essential that we continue our efforts to improve police-community relations and promote safety and wellbeing in schools and communities. This includes advocating for policy reforms that prioritize community input and accountability, supporting community-led initiatives, and engaging in ongoing dialogue between law enforcement and communities. By coming together, we can create a future where all community members feel safe, valued, and respected.