Dale C. Vercher, aged 24, of Bennington, VT
On 6/15/18 at around 2:30pm Brattleboro Police responded to a social service agency on South Main Street for a report of a suspect armed with a large knife and threatening people. When officers arrived, the suspect, later identified as Vercher, fled east toward Vernon Road.
Officers pursued Vercher, who was still armed with the knife. Additional officers responded to the area to assist. Eventually Vercher was surrounded and trapped in a wooded and brushy area between Vernon Street and the railroad tracks near the parking lot of 28 Vernon Street. Vercher refused to obey officers’ instructions.
Officers began negotiations with Vercher in an effort to get him to surrender. During this time Vercher threatened to injure himself and officers. The BPD social worker was summoned to the scene to assist. After about 50 minutes Vercher stood up and began to approach officers. He refused to comply with instructions from officers and continued to advance. Officers deployed a TASER which was ineffective. Officers then fired several shots from a bean-bag shotgun, striking Vercher. Vercher was controlled and taken into custody. He was transported by Rescue, Inc to BMH for treatment of moderate but not life threatening injuries. No one else was injured.
Vercher was initially charged with disorderly conduct. He was ordered to appear in court on July 24, 2018 and was released with conditions.
BPD has invested heavily in training related to dealing with armed individuals who may be suffering from a mental health crisis. This training includes using de-escalation techniques to slow down an incident, when possible, so that negotiations can occur and strategic decisions can be made. BPD also employs a variety of tools and weapons in order to control violent suspects. This includes the bean-bag shotgun, a less-lethal weapon that shoots a small bean-bag at high velocity in order