The Burlington Police Commission is urging City Council to allow the police department to hire more officers.
The commission voted in a special meeting Monday to temporarily raise the cap from 74 officers to 82.
Paul Decelles, a former city councilor, said this is a step in the right direction. He worries for his daughter’s safety. “I have a daughter who is 18, and I am petrified every time she leaves the house,” Decelles said.
Yves Bradley has lived in the Queen City since he was 17, but says he has “have never felt less safe in the city than I do now.”
Decelles believes commissioners will get a different perspective if they ride along with an officer.
“Understand what they have to go through in a day,” Decelles said. “Their day might be 15 hours long or 17 horus long. They might have 20 or 30 hours over time in a week. How many of us can do that?”
The commission is also recommending the department hire two city service liaisons, or CSLs, to respond to police requests for services, such as mental health crises. Commissioner Stephanie Seguino said some of the problems are a function of a long term defunding of social services.
“I think we have to think differently about the issue of crime and public safety,” Seguino said. “That is there is a lot of unmet need in our community and that is at least partially contributed to some of the problems that we are facing.”