Bristol is getting a $125,000 federal grant from the Department of Justice to hire a new police officer.
The funds from the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, will grow the Bristol Police Department’s ranks to four full-time uniformed officers, a staffing level it’s never had during Chief Bruce Nason’s tenure.
“Previously, before I came, there were four positions a few years back,” Nason said. “But due to some of the financial restraints on the community, they eliminated that position.”
Nason says the issue has come up repeatedly. A recent series of annual reviews has been held at budget time to see what a fourth full-time position would cost.
“We’re getting closer, and I think that this would help us get over the hump, so to speak, to get the fourth position and give us a period of three years to get the funding where it needs to be,” he said.
By the time the three-year grant runs out, the chief hopes to have enough hard data to persuade the Selectboard to budget for the fourth officer.
“Bristol is a great little community — very friendly, compact downtown — and people from surrounding communities do business downtown while they’re here in town,” he said. “We are, for the size of our department, busy.”
The United Way of Addison County helped the Bristol P.D. obtain its medication disposal bin. The additional officer would be a liaison to that agency, to Age Well’s Middlebury office and to the Turning Point Center of Addison County, among others.
“Our primary focus for this full-time position would be to enhance those partnerships and to include Restorative Justice Services of Addison County,” Nason said.
This latest round of COPS grants is worth $139 million nationwide. Essex County, Vermont, will is get $123,257, and the Town of Groveton in Coos County, New Hampshire, will receive $250,000 to hire two officers.