By Guy Page
The Burlington Police Department has only 22 patrol officers – total – to provide 24/7/365 coverage in a city with a growing crime rate, a recent BPD report shows.
“As of Jan 01, 2023, the BPD has 63 total sworn officers,of whom 54 are available to be deployed,” the report said. “Historically, headcount has been in the high 90s; currently we are authorized for 87 officers. Minus 9 on leave, injury, FTO, etc. = 54. Minus 14 supervisors = 40. Minus 10 detectives = 31. Minus 5 airport officers = 25. Minus 3 special assignments = 22.”
Mayor Miro Weinberger and Chief Jon Murad presented a rebuilding plan as part of the FY23 budget, which the City Council unanimously approved. The Council also approved strong contracts and raised authorized officer headcount from 74 to 87.
The good news is that “BPD is working hard to grow,” the report said.
For example, on December 16, three new BPD officers graduated from the Vermont Police Academy and started their fifteen-week field training. Five more officers are anticipated to be hired to attend the next Academy class, which begins in February. The BPD is also hiring Community Service Officers, Community Support Liaisons, Dispatchers, and more.
Starting pay for a police officer is $71,000, with a $15,000 hiring bonus and other bonuses and benefits.
Community Service Officers (CSOs) are unarmed, unsworn officers who answer quality-of-life calls for service. Historically, the BPD had two; Chief Murad’s plan expanded the number. There are 10 at present, and the FY23 budget allocates for 12. The role is also a stepping stone to becoming a police officer.
Community Support Liaisons (CSLs) are embedded social workers with expertise in mental health, substance use disorder, and houselessness who help address social service issues. There are three CSLs in the hiring pipeline, and BPD hopes to add six by early 2023.
The bad news is that many types of crime are up.
In 2022 Burlington saw five murders, more than any known year in the city’s history, the BPD report said. In the eleven years since the city’s current reporting system began, Burlington has experienced fifteen murders.
Gunfire, larceny, overdose, mental health, and stolen vehicle incidents in 2022 all were the highest in the last five years – and by considerable margins. Only traffic stops were significantly lower than in previous years.
Problem, crisis, solution. Those in power create the problem that quickly turned into a crisis. Now, their solution is to somehow turn it around after screaming defund the police, letting criminals walk free with little or no bail, establishing a task force to micro-manage every move an officer makes, and fail to prosecute a majority of the crimes committed. Is it no wonder there are few willing to take on employment in law enforcement when prosecuters and judges work against their efforts every day?
You reap what you sow. The big question here is did any of those on the City Council learn anything? And sadly, but predictably, the answer remains “no”. Only recently, one of the City Counselors was quoted by a news organization as saying that if she could go back, she wishes she could have defunded the police “differently”. You’ve got to laugh for fear of crying at the stubbornness, the ignorance, the sheer deference to the havoc they all have created.
They need to be recalled, but we all know that they never could be due to the college kiddie’s voting block along with the covert pursuits of organizations such as “Rights & Democracy VT” – no such recall would be successful. And the City Counselors know that better than anyone.
It just a matter of time before this all implodes but the poor property owners are the ones suffer for it, but they voted the council and mayor back in so they need to suck it up
I couldn’t agree more. And now we have the Vergennes City Council following in the failed footsteps of Burlington. It’s sad to see much of Vermont falling by the wayside because of arrogance and pride. It won’t last much longer though….
These people can’t even hire a police chief yet they wonder why nobody wants to work there. Oh, wait we’ll just pay them more. What you’ll end up with is highly paid disgruntled workers.
Exactly, the current chief has been doing the job for almost 3 years and was the only applicant to apply but he wasn’t liberal enough for or socialist city council.
His biggest impediments are attributes he was born with…his light skin complexion and his XY chromosome…either or both disqualify him for the job.
You can thank/ blame the city council for all off this. This is what happens when you pander to the mentality ill and addicts.
It doesn’t help that most of the makeup of the City Council qualify as mentally deranged.
Do they still require mrna injections? Otherwise at this point i might consider.
No worries. burlington doesn’t need more police they need a prosecutor who will enforce the law and imprison the guilty. I know, that’s not the fringe alt left agenda od equity.
It would be interesting to see similar graphical statistics for sales figures of retail shops, services and restaurants in Burlington, particularly those surrounding the Church Street Marketplace “crime zone”…
The “overdose” figures are always subject to debate and confusion as we really dont have a solid definition for it. Overdose deaths are easy to define. An observer seeing someone writhing around, semi conscious on a park bench and calling for rescue services may end up being categorized as an overdose but is likely just a junkie getting their typical fix and not being too happy about having Narcan shoved up their nose.
Oh SURE– But how many Howard Center “Crisis Workers” are there? And WHO wants to be a cop when they employ a “hands off” the UVM’s? (“Underprivileged, Vulnerable, & Marginalized”) Stop a car w/out-if-state plates & a UVM dope slinger behind the wheel? Then your “minority stop numbers” are UP & scrutinized. And it’s a damn good thing we yanked “opioids” from older chronic pain patients! Sure made the OD’s & deaths drop now didn’t it? The gunfire, assaults, & murders WILL keep rising & the Dem’s & Prog’s will keep getting elected, after all, the “Defund The Police” mantra since the Pink Floyd riots still rings true in THEIR ears, NOT the sound of shots fired..