The Burlington City Council has voted to increase the community’s police department after putting a cap on the number of officers last year.
The council voted 8-to-4 early Tuesday to increase the number of officers to 79. Last year the City Council passed a resolution directing the department to reduce its maximum number of officers from 105 to 74 through attrition.
The vote followed months of debate about reducing funding for police and redirecting it to social services. But since then many Burlington business owners have complained they don’t feel safe and they have demanded action.
Mayor Miro Weinberger said with eight additional officers who are stationed at the Burlington International Airport, the cap is effectively raised to 87. That’s just a few officers short of where the department was last June, when Burlington had 92 officers.
“It will take a long time to repair the grave decline of our public safety capacity that was initiated last June, but tonight’s action does send a positive message to our officers and the Burlington community that public safety and maintaining a viable department remain a shared goal of the administration and the council,” Weinberger said in a statement issued early Tuesday.
Last month Burlington Interim Police Chief Jon Murad said the department had 68 sworn officers.