LaRose applies for U.S. Marshal position

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Police Chief Brad LaRose, pictured at a meeting last year, applied for Vermont’s U.S. Marshal position. (File photo by Colin Flanders)

Essex police Chief Brad LaRose confirmed Tuesday he has applied to become the district of Vermont’s U.S. Marshal, a presidentially-appointed position that carries a four-year term.

A records request to Gov. Phil Scott’s office shows LaRose submitted his résumé to Scott and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on July 18. The two are collaborating to recommend a candidate to President Donald Trump, according to Leahy’s spokesman David Carle.

LaRose said he wasn’t considering the gig until he was informed of the vacancy and heard “the thoughts of others.”

“I do have an interest in it,” he said Tuesday. “But my primary interest is here right now.”

He hasn’t been contacted since and said he would need more information if he was offered the position. Still, he wanted to apply and “let things unfold down the road.”

Traditionally, senators from the president’s party make recommendations for the position. When neither are, as in Vermont’s case, the president normally defers to the state’s party leaders, the Congressional Research Service says.

Vermont’s highest-ranking Republican, Scott reached an “early agreement” with Leahy, the leading member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will act on the president’s eventual nomination, Carle said. The full U.S. Senate must then confirm nominees.

Established in 1789, the U.S. Marshals service is considered the enforcement arm of the federal courts. The 94 district marshals, one for each federal judicial district, lead over 3,700 deputy marshals and criminal investigators, U.S. Marshals Service Association says.

Marshals apprehend fugitives, transport federal prisoners and operate the witness protection program, among other duties, the association’s website says.

Vermont’s two officials are “working diligently” on the recommendation, Carle said, but there’s no decision as of Tuesday.

“Vermont is probably ahead of the pace of some other states in filling vacancies like this,” he added.

All 94 U.S. marshal positions, one for each federal judicial district, are up for appointment by Trump. He can choose to retain current marshals but has made no formal nominations to date, according to Lynne Donahue, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Headquarters.

Carle said he couldn’t share how many applications Leahy’s office received for Vermont’s position, citing “personnel matters,” and he declined to say if the pool has been narrowed down. He did confirm several Vermonters expressed interest, however.

The Reporter’s records request, which sought all correspondence to and from Scott’s office regarding the position, shows two other Vermonters applied and a third was recommended.

Reached Tuesday, joint municipal manager Pat Scheidel said he knew LaRose was told about the vacancy. He called LaRose an “exceptional candidate” who “should get the job.”

“He’s just the right kind of person in terms of commitment to the profession, commitment to the job and a strong sense of right and wrong,” Scheidel said. “The marshal service would be well served to have him as their leader.”

In his cover letter, LaRose says he “continue[s] to thoroughly enjoy” his current position but is confident his experience, accomplishments, philosophy and attitude will identify him as a “viable fit” for the position. That includes nearly 25 years of teaching at the Vermont Police Academy.

“Learning and teaching innovative methods of providing police services is an integral part of who I am,” he wrote.

He also highlighted his experience with various law enforcement agencies during cases like the 2006 Essex Elementary School shooting, the Currier investigation and, most recently, the Essex High School swatting incident.

Among the seven references on LaRose’s résumé are Scheidel, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan and current U.S. Marshal David Demag, who served as Essex Police Chief from 2001 to 2008.

If appointed, LaRose would leave behind a 37-year career with the department. Scheidel said the town would likely conduct a search for his replacement, during which internal candidates would be encouraged to apply.

In 2015, LaRose promoted Cpts. Rick Garey and George Murtie in efforts to a restructure the department’s succession plan.

If given a few months’ notice, Scheidel said there wouldn’t be much to worry about. A few weeks might make the transition more challenging, he said, but lauded the department’s “great command structure.”

With the application process in its early stage, LaRose said he doesn’t know what to expect moving forward. He emphasized his primary focus is continuing as Essex’s police chief.

“If they were to say, ‘Hey, Brad, could you start tomorrow? I couldn’t do that,” he said.