The Burlington City Council on Monday voted again not to hire new officers, even as the city sees consistent serious crimes committed, including at least one shootout in late July.
The Burlington Police Department issued multiple reports about a July 31 incident that occurred early in the morning, including three individuals who may have been involved in a shootout.
“Last night, at approximately 0315 hours, police received reports of a shooting with multiple
people firing at each other,” reads the initial release. It notes three individuals attempted to flee.
“The truck attempted to elude officers and, during the evasion, an occupant discarded a handgun from the moving vehicle. Eventually the truck stopped behind 90 Pearl Street where officers detained two black males and a black female. Further, officers located a bag containing a sizable amount [of] crack cocaine directly in front of the truck,” a press release from BPD states.
The incident didn’t stop Burlington City Council this week from voting against raising officer staffing, despite warnings from the police chief that they are getting stretched thin.
In early July, Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said the department had about 67 officers, when 96 would be necessary to keep all residents safe. In 2020, city council voted to reduce the force by 30 percent, capping the number of police officers at 74.
Meanwhile the city continues to see reports of potential shootings.
On Aug. 1, at about 4 a.m., BPD “received multiple 911 calls regarding potential gunshots/fireworks in the area of the Andy A_Dog Williams Skatepark.” While officer initially “did not locate any evidence of gunfire,” at about 4:18 p.m. another caller “advised that there appeared to be bullet holes in the 300 Lake Street apartment building. Officers responded and were able to locate multiple bullet holes. A bullet fragment was also recovered from an apartment in the building.”
Most recently, on Saturday, another shootout may have occurred. The Burlington Police Dispatch received multiple reports of a fight and gunshots in the street near the Simons gas station, at the intersection of South Winooski Avenue and Bank Street. The police report notes several officers “heard the gunfire and responded,” and witnesses in the area saw a fight between about a dozen people,”during which a shot or shots had been fired.”The incident is under further investigation.
“Officers recovered evidence supporting the discharge of a firearm at the scene, and detectives are now investigating this gunfire incident,” BPD reported.
On July 23 the department posted an update about a violent beating that occurred in the twilight hours on a mid-June night. The suspect in that event is still at large and was caught on video.
“The Burlington Police Department is once again asking for public assistance in regards to locating an attempted homicide suspect responsible for striking a male in the skull repeatedly, resulting in multiple fractures, near the intersection of Main Street and South Winooski Avenue during the early morning hours of June 21, 2021,” the BPD states.
A data page on the department’s website allows users to track how many incidents occur over specific periods of time. The crime map was updated through the end of June. For that month, 2,081 total incidents were reported. These include one murder, two felony domestic assaults, three aggravated assaults, 10 stolen cars, ten drug overdose calls, 15 burglaries, 20 incidents of vandalism, and more.
That compares to May, when 1,977 total incidents were reported. That month the city saw no murders, no felony domestic assaults, one bomb threat, nine aggravated assaults, seven stolen cars, nine drug overdoses, six burglaries, and 69 incidents of vandalism.