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Burlington votes to raise officer cap

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 3:05 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:17 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - After months of debate, the officer cap at the Burlington Police Department is going up.

The Burlington City Council voted 8-to-4 Monday night to increase the number of officers on the force to 79. The vote comes following months of debate about the “experiment” last year to defund the police and redirect funding towards social services. But some council members changed their minds following the release of a report by the consultant CNA that called for 77 to 80 officers.

Mayor Miro Weinberger says with eight additional officers at the Burlington Airport, the cap is effectively raised from 74-to-87. That’s just a few officers short of where the department was at last June, when there were 92 sworn personnel.

The mayor commended the officers who stood behind the department after the City Council cut the police budget by 30% last year. He says it sends a positive message to the community about public safety. “It will take a long time to repair the grave decline of our public safety capacity that was initiated last June,” Weinberger said in a statement.

The debate over staffing comes as the city has dealt with a spike in violent crimes downtown. Many Burlington business owners have been complaining they don’t feel safe and have demanded action.

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