Vermont Police Coalition responds to Burlington Police personnel shortages

As the Burlington Police Department mulls cutting its night shift, leaving residents to seek out state police during late hours, the head of the Vermont Police Coalition says City Council was too hasty in its decision to cut police personnel earlier in the year.

“It’s a knee-jerk reaction,” Vermont Police Coalition director Mike Hall, a retired police chief from Manchester, told True North.

“You know what I find interesting is now they are saying that they wish they had better communications with the police department, you know, back when they were making this decision. I think that just speaks to the fact that this was a decision made more based upon their personal preference and ideas rather than operational concerns,” he said.

The nationwide movement to defund police began soon after the death of George Floyd, a suspect apprehended by Minneapolis police in May. Burlington activists for defunding have seized upon three highly publicized use-of-force incidents in 2018 and 2019, two involving injuries to black men and another involving the death of a white man.

Wikimedia Commons/Taymaz Valley

NOT SO FAST? – Defunding the police means police will have fewer officers out on the streets at night to protect people, as the citizens of Burlington are starting to see.

Amid this atmosphere, the Burlington City Council on June 30 voted to reduce its overall police force by 30 percent, capping officers at 74, down from the prior cap of 105.

Hall says that decision was made in haste.

“If it had been based on operational concerns, and not just a knee-jerk reaction because they just don’t like police, period, then you know they would have realized this was something that just wasn’t feasible and couldn’t be done,” Hall said.

Hall noted that crime is now going up in the Burlington area.

“And Burlington has issues, as we see every day. Major crime is up there,” he said. “It’s becoming the Chicago-aspect of Vermont in so far as it’s a poor representation of the safety that this state is known for.

“And you know, for them to be doing this, it’s going to be costly in the end — more than likely in the lives of the safety of the people involved up there.”

According to the Women’s Self-Defense Institute, cuts to police response time may have a greater negative impact on poor neighborhoods than wealthy ones.

“The Department of Justice, with their statistical prowess, reports that the best response time is 4 minutes and the worst over 1 hour,” Angie Tarighi, head of the institute, writes. “Interpretation? If you live in an upper-income area you probably are privy to the 4 minute response time, while middle to rural areas will see a much longer response time.”

Asking local residents to rely on the Vermont State Police late at night may be tricky. In July 2018, Lt. Steve Coote, director of recruiting and training for the Vermont State Police, told the Woodbury Selectboard that they — even two years ago — were having serious staffing problems.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a Vermont State Police problem; I would say it’s recruiting and staffing levels nationwide,” Coote said. “If you look anywhere, things have been difficult in law enforcement in the last five years.”

Hall said some critics of police have suggested the proposal by police to cut night shifts is a fear-tactic done in protest of the severe budget cuts.

“It’s not a fear tactic,” Hall said. “It’s a factual matter that the police are telling them that they aren’t going to be able to respond. You know, these folks just don’t get it, and more importantly they don’t want to get it.”

Hall noted that unarmed social workers are not going to be ready to help the average late-night call, when the potential danger for violence is much higher than calls during the day. He said armed police don’t always get it right, but most of the time they do, and he says they should get more credit for it.

“Any call that comes in after about 11 p.m. to about 5 a.m. in the morning is generally something serious or something that’s going to need some special attention,” he said. “And to suggest that you could send unarmed people to those kinds of situations is ludicrous and it’s dangerous, and quite frankly it’s stupid.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Taymaz Valley

21 thoughts on “Vermont Police Coalition responds to Burlington Police personnel shortages

  1. See the Vermont digger hit piece on our police. They try and make it look like we have 28 bad cops.

    What the story doesn’t reveL, or should say puts in a negative light, they had to look over a 5 year period to find 28 instances where a letter had to be written that the officer may note be able to be a witness. Not all were bad cops though.

    So 5 years x 365 days = 1825 days, how many calls per day. Let’s say 3 = 5535

    1103 sworn police officers in the state

    6,105,105 instances of police interactions and only 28 instances, hmm

    Vt digger was saying it took a ton of time and resources to “dig up the truth” I guess it would! See this is how propaganda works yeah there were 28 instances, but it clearly distorts the truth, most all the cops are doing a good job.

    The real issue in Vermont is bad reporting, censorship and propaganda.

    • Neil, how about sending your thoughts to Alan Keays at the VTD for comment?

      Did Keays give any consideration to the issues you have raised?

      How does Vermont measure up in comparison to other states on the basis of complaints per 1000 officers or per capita?

      What standard does Keays use to label Vermont police as “tarnished”? In comparison to other states, maybe Vermont’s record is actually excellent…….Does Keays even know if Vermont’s record is good, bad or average?

      Before condemning the entire police establishment, it would be good to know what record would warrant abel of “tarnished”

      • VTD……Vermont Digger? Seriously you jest. My commentary will never see the light f day, do have any idea how many hundreds of times I’ve been censored? I”m not alone, hundreds of people or more have surely been censored.

        If they were AT ALL interested in “pursuing the truth” they would have asked some very pertinent questions.

        Really good propaganda tells no lies, that’s the power of trying to influence public opinion, what is being done on smart phones across the country.

        When they did the first big interview of our political party they asked two questions, is this your treasurer and is this your platform, then a huge long piece on how every proposal made no sense. NO discussion or inquiry. I have the emails.

        Vermont digger is completely a political arm, the are an unregistered PAC hiding behind the guise of a non-profit “press” organization.

        You think it was a “coincidence” they stopped all commentary 3 months before an election? Look at the garbage they are reporting now…..any American with a brain would be having a field day destroying their stupid stories, But we can’t

        It’s no coincidence.

  2. 112,704 people in Vermont are looking for ways to support our good men and women in uniform.

    All the VTGOP has to do is coordinate and give them a way to support and express themselves, it costs no money.

    The 112,704 people are polite, respectful and willing to help, they are on standby.

  3. There are 112,704 people in Vermont, itching, waiting looking to mobilized to bring peace, harmony, and vitalization to Vermont.

    These 112,704 people voted for Trump.

    They voted for Trump in a state where if you put a sign up in your yard you will be chastised.
    If you come out and speak against injustice YOU WILL LOSE your state job, ask the likely democratic Principle that was hung out to dry for the whole state to see for suggesting, rioting, burning, assault might not be the way to win people over.
    The bus driver?
    The school principle and administration in Milton?
    The PAC known as Vermont Digger, that is a political operative hiding under a non-profit disguise.

    These people and many who hold an R next to their name in the legislature are looking for ways they can contribute. The VTGOP can be indispensable for guiding people, we don’t need money only love for God, our fellow neighbor and country.

    Some ideas

    1) Have people send nice respectful letters supporting those who are being crushed by the Vermont CCP/NWO pimps. We are very good at being polite.

    Perhaps 112,704 letters to the school board will help them take notice. Emails are deleted. You don’t have to put your return address if you are worried about retaliation.

    2) Support America drives. We know Trump triggers people because of indoctrination. But supporting America is still slightly ok in Vermont. Even in covid we could have monthly drives to pick up ice cream and get out of the house. American flags flying from our cars.

    3) We could ask for a complete audit of the election to make sure things are kosher.

    4) Those people in Very deep blue parts of the state that have no hope of getting a Republican in office could be mobilized to help those on the fringe, like the boys from Grand Isle, they did awesome. They could show us how to help in other areas.

    5) We could strive to get proper civics in our school system. Most of our population does not know the difference between a democracy and a constitutional republic.

    6) We could target certain schools to help them get rid of drugs in the schools.

    7) We could get a caucus within the party, perhaps a green mountain caucus that works tightly and in harmony, building promoting.

    There are 112,704 people in this state who stood up and voted for someone that everyone knows is chastised, vilified and so are those who publicly support him.

    There are many, many things we can do as a well functioning body, a body with harmony, peace and direction.

  4. Watch is stunning, very well done Documentary called “Seattle is Dying”.. made by local TV station KOMO.
    It’s only one hour and you’ll probably wish it was longer.

    THIS right here is where it’s all going.. it’s as easy to see as the nose on your face when you watch this Documentary…;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANDMTMzOV8xBHNlYwNzcg–/RV=2/RE=1608240367/RO=10/

    • Fascinating video, but not surprising. This is exactly where we’re heading in VT. Sadly, it will have to get much, much worse before voters begin to realize how truly disastrous these Far-Left policies are and vote out the Progressive political activists.

      • It is Seth.
        Everyone in Vermont should see this, because yes, this is their plan.
        There are cities all over America in this same situation..cities where these people are voter frauding their way into more and more power to do just this.

        This right here is what rotting us from within looks like.
        We cannot fight back against what people don’t understand and refuse to see.

  5. The level of ignorance, arrogance and naiveté among those pushing to “defund the police” is shocking. They shout about “systemic racism” from the rooftops, but you won’t see a single one of these hypocrites down at the Burlington Police Station filling out a job application.

    • It’s one of the pivotal moves that are done when some one is trying to subvert a country. It all makes sense when you see the plan, it’s their objective. Yuri Bezmanov laid it all out for us to see.

  6. Well said. Law and order is not the realm of social workers. What the anti-police crowd fails to grasp is that people are not inherently good. Public safety demands appropriate laws and the ability to enforce them. Otherwise we enter the downward spiral of anarchy.

    Check out Portland Oregon.

  7. From WCAX (12/11/20) regarding the BPD ending the night shift:

    “Burlington City Councilor Jane Stromberg says the BPD presentation of the proposal — focusing on the loss of the midnight shift — is purposefully putting pressure on the city to make a rash decision and strategically invoking fear in the community. “It’s kind of threatening, honestly, and I don’t think that’s the way anything should be done in terms of city business. Stromberg says there’s no way she’d support restaffing police, but is open to ideas like the one proposed.”

    So Ms. Stromberg, a 2019 UVM Graduate, making her about 24-25 or so years old, is telling us how it is. She’s now blaming the BPD for making a “rash decision” with the ending the night shift.

    Let’s take a look at rash decisions regarding the defunding the DPD, which were motivated by the May 25, 2020 tragic shooting of George Floyd. At the end of June 2020, about a month after the George Floyd shooting, the Burlington City Council voted 9-3 to defund the BPD by 30%……Pretty fast for such a major decision.

    How much thinking on the part of the Burlington City Council went into making such a major decision as defunding of the BPD?……Apparently, very little. So little as a matter of fact that the decision can be and should be labeled as rash and irresponsible……The Burlington City Council acted rashly and now the BPD cannot function in a manner consistent with protecting its citizens……..So Ms. Stromberg blames the BPD of acting rashly.

    Burlington will continue on its current reckless course and putting the City in jeopardy until adults are returned to the City Council seats.

    • Here’s another member of the Burlington City Council who pushed hard for the defunding the police that has lead to current police department problems, which are feared will result in increased danger for Burlington’s citizens.

      Like Jane Stromberg, Burlington City Councilor Zoraya Hightower was also a leader in the charge to defund the Burlington Police Department this past summer. She is now Chair of the Public Safety and Police Commission joint committee and wants little to do with solving the problems presently at hand.

      Now that Hightower’s demands that the police be defunded has created major problems for the city, she says its not her responsibility to create short-term solutions. She goes on to say that her 10-person committee isn’t equipped to move forward on an assessment at a swift pace and that the process would take at least a year to complete. She said her committee doesn’t have any unilateral hiring power, which is why she thinks the mayor should be moving faster with alternative short-term proposals to staff the police department as reported by the VTDigger.

      So like fellow defund the police advocate Jane Stromberg, Hightower is saying “its not my responsibility” and the Mayor should be moving faster…….Here again, we have an individual with apparently little to no known large organizational management or governmental experience, but lots of sophomoric ideas, who has created a real mess for the citizens of Burlington.

      • It’s up the the Mayor to put on his big boy pants and tell these people to go pound sand.
        At the end of the day, when the city crashes and burns, and people actually die because of these wrong choices on the Mayors watch, that is all on the Mayor.
        Common sense should tell him to not go there..

        Noteworthy how they make great efforts to keep people from dying from Covid, which 99.8% of people will NOT die of.. but yet they work so hard to set the table for people to die instead from crime related incidents -by doing all they can to create that.

  8. Defund the police yup, this what happens when you have a complete
    Liberal City Council working on emotion, not on common sense !!

    They don’t have a clue about the working of a police department, they
    are working on agenda politics they don’t care about the citizens, it’s
    look we are ” woke “……..

    I hope the Citizens ” Real ” Burlingtonions, get on the phone to there
    city ” councilor ” when they have an issue with the police response time,
    they should be available 24/7 if the police are not !!

    Ward 1 Zoraya Hightower (802) 391-4333
    Ward 2 Max Tracy (802) 373-1968
    Ward 3 Brian Pine (802) 578-6953
    Ward 4 Sarah E Carpenter (802) 658-0474
    Ward 5 William “Chip” Mason (802) 373-8545
    Ward 6 Karen Paul (802) 863-3817
    Ward 7 Ali N Dieng (802) 318-2527
    Ward 8Jane Stromberg (845) 544-4143
    Central Perri Freeman (802) 373-2685
    East Jack Hanson (802) 557-0605
    North Franklin Paulino (802) 448-2293
    South Joan Shannon (802) 860-7489

  9. I’m sure the response time would improve if you told Dispatch you were going to stop the perpetrators with extreme prejudice.

    • I’ve made a similar comment elsewhere and got blasted for it publicly. I said if there are no police a lot of crimes will carry the death penalty. — None of these liberals seem to understand that if someone is breaking in, or attacking persons and there are no police — the perps will likely get shot. Its self-defense.

      • Of course they blasted you.. you told the truth!

        And considering that you can hardly buy a bullet in this country right now, I’d say people are ready to defend themselves pretty well.

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