Public safety news

Guns found in CVU parking lot, no charges filed

Two rifles and ammunition were found in cars parked in the Champlain Valley Union High School parking lot on the morning of Jan. 9, but Principal Sean McMannon said the rifles were for legal hunting purposes before and after school.

McMannon sent an email to parents that day reassuring them that the guns never left the parking lot.

“It is very important to know that the students involved had no intent to harm anyone in the CVU community,” he wrote in the email. “This has been confirmed by evaluating the potential threat with police, administration and parents.”

His email also states that he was pleased that people came forward regarding the perceived threat, and that the school’s safety procedures were swiftly set into motion.

“I am 100 percent confident that our procedures worked and there is no threat to our community,” he wrote.

McMannon asked parents to speak to their children about CVU’s weapons policy—firearms are prohibited on school property.

Hinesburg Police officer Brian Fox said no charges have been filed, and that the students are hunters and “made a mistake.”


Tips to avoid break-ins

Williston Police are warning residents to always lock homes and vehicles during the day. The department recorded nearly a dozen daytime robberies this fall and winter, with three of them occurring in unlocked homes, according to Sgt. Bart Chamberlain.

Police also recommend not leaving valuables—cash, jewelry, iPods, laptops—in plain sight. Police also recommend unusual hiding places, as under mattresses and the backs of closets are typical hiding places. Consider getting a safety deposit box for expensive jewelry or items not often used. Alternatively, a safe that bolts to the wall or floor can deter burglars.

Police also recommend recording the serial numbers of all electronics and photographing all jewelry, as these items will be invaluable to police if items are stolen.

Alarms and barking dogs can be deterrents. Also, ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your home. The most common daytime burglary times are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Always report any unfamiliar cars or people in the neighborhood during the day.


Deeghan pleads guilty

James Deeghan
James Deeghan

Former Vermont State Police Sgt. James Deeghan pleaded guilty to two felony counts of false claims and two counts of neglected duty on Jan. 14, relating to time-sheet padding.

As part of a plea agreement, Deeghan will serve two years in prison, serve 500 hours of community service and repay the state of Vermont for approximately $202,000 he was paid for overtime he did not work. As part of the agreement, the money will come from Deeghan’s pension, said Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan, whose office prosecuted the case. Deeghan’s pension was also reduced from $68,000 to $44,000.

Donovan said Deeghan issued nearly 1000 fake tickets in an investigation going back six years.

The case has prompted the Shumlin administration to look at pension laws.

“While our thorough investigation determined that Mr. Deeghan’s fraud was an isolated case, we have put safeguards in place at the Department of Public Safety to prevent this abuse from occurring in the future,” Shumlin said in a press release. “Fortunately, Mr. Deeghan will reimburse taxpayers for the full amount of his fraud over the next six years through deductions from his pension payments. We are pushing lawmakers this session to change the law so that if this sort of crime does occur again, public employee pensions may be forfeited.”

Deeghan worked out of the Williston barracks as a patrol commander before resigning on July 10 after fraud allegations surfaced. He had been a state police officer since 1990.

He has been taken into custody, Donovan said.