New employees added to ranks as Burlington Police Dept. works to rebuild

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 6:11 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - There are now 16 new employees at the Burlington Police Department, as the department works to rebuild its ranks.

Acting Chief Jon Murad says the current headcount at the department is 65, but only 55 are effective and able to respond to calls.

He says while still below the authorized cap, they are making progress toward rebuilding the department.

At a ceremony Thursday, 16 new employees were sworn in, including nine new professional employees like community service officers and community support liaisons, dispatchers, and a redaction specialist.

The department also welcomed six new sworn officers who will go to the Vermont Police Academy next week, along with one returning officer.

Murad says in addition to recruitment initiatives, he feels the department is beginning to turn the corner.

“We’ve also felt a change in the community in so far as a pronounced desire for good police officers and a recognition that this department is not staffed the way it needs to be, and that we want it to be different in order for us to move forward,” he said. “I think that we are really in a place where rebuilding is possible, and that possibility comes from the tools that were given to us thanks to the mayor and also thanks to the City Council with regard to salary, with regard to the funding for this rebuilding plan.”

In October, the City Council voted to raise the number the officers from the cap of 74 to 87, which would include the officers stationed at the Burlington International Airport.

The department now has six community service officers and four community support liaisons.

Once the sworn officers complete the 16-week police academy, they must also undergo 580 hours of field training.