Posted by David J. Armstrong

Chief Cloud and Kim Eckhardt

We had two speakers Thursday morning, June 15, 2017.. The first was Kimberly Eckhardt, who spoke on behalf of PAX, a U.S. State Department scholarship exchange program. Kimberly said that there are actually two programs under the PAX administration, one for students from former Communist countries, and another for students from Muslim countries. The purpose of the PAX programs is to help spread world peace. PAX is always looking for host families to welcome exchange students. Currently PAX is looking for a family to host a student from Mongolia.
Our second speaker was Chief Richard H. Cloud from the Chester Police Department. Chief Cloud was born and raised in Vermont. He has worked in law enforcement for 29 years, and he has been with the Chester PD for 13 years. He has worked with canine officers. Chief Cloud reported that the Chester PD currently has five full-time officers. An important program of the department is the DARE program, which is an attempt to proactively address the current drug epidemic involving heroin and other drugs. In the last year Chief Cloud reported that there have been three overdoses in Chester, two of them fatal. Addicts are often desperate for money to buy drugs, which leads them to commit break-ins and other crimes. The Chief emphasized the need for community involvement, and especially parental involvement, in addressing this problem. He also said that doctors need education about the misuse of prescription drugs. He said that 3 out of 5 prescription drug abusers become addicted to heroin.
In response to a question, Chief Cloud addressed the question of legalizing marijuana. He felt that it was premature to legalize marijuana at this time. He said that there is no way  for police officers to test the level of marijuana in the blood when a driver is stopped and suspected of DUI. Additionally,  he said that there was no lab in Vermont to test for marijuana. On other issues, the Chief said that it was important for officers to be in the schools. He said that fraud is currently a major law enforcement problem and that citizens should be involved in helping the police.