Burlington Police Department down to 22 active patrol officers, crime rising

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.

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of Burlington Police Department Facebook
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5 thoughts on “Burlington Police Department down to 22 active patrol officers, crime rising

  1. 2023 Welcome to the ” Crime City “, growing up in Burlington it used to be known as
    the ” Queen City “, that’s when we had a conservative leadership, and a fully staffed
    police department even though Burlington had a ” bar ” on most street corners and
    remained open until the we hours, cops always handled the issues and most trouble
    makers went to jail !!

    2023 Burlington, and its feckless liberal leadership, well, you see what you get and it
    will not get any better any time soon, crime, shootings, homelessness, drugs and a
    limited police force due to the ” gaggle of fools” in Burlington known as the City Council
    pretty pathetic………………….

    Burlingtonions better wake up soon, it’s a slippery slope !!

    • The reasons crime is on the rise are as plain as day to those of us who still know right from wrong. The problem is Burlington and most of Vermont have been infested with white liberal sheeple. All they care about is not offending people of color and twisting up another fatty. Liberalism in Vermont is the microcosm of everything that is wrong about liberalism/socialism.

  2. I’ve got questions about this.

    This city of about 45,000 people will likely soon have no police at all– because the jobs of these 22 brave people is getting worse and harder by the minute- and far more dangerous.
    These people signed up to police the streets- not wind up recruited to go into a declining warzone every day- and that is what their jobs have evolved into.
    It’s not hard to see that they’ll likely lose these people as well.

    I have this feeling that the big spenders in Burlington have found themselves in a position where they can’t even afford the police force- or rather, they are choosing to not pay for one.
    I’ve read that hiring your own police is becoming a thing.
    Are they trying to push security and safety in the city off onto the taxpayers to free up money to then blow on more programs and Democrat jobs?
    Is this really a transfer of funds from one place to another- and the ‘other’ place is something that they can grow into something that benefits them far more than having this “mean police department”.

    What we are looking at here is so nuts that it’s hard to even see the end game- and they are almost there.
    And we all know, it’s never really about what they are telling us it’s about.

  3. 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.

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