St. Albans City, Town move forward with plans for joint police force

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 5:07 PM EST
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - Plans are coming together for a joint police department in St. Albans. The Franklin County sheriff covers the town now, but that will change next year.

“We are really excited to be able to turn the page,” St. Albans City Manager Dominic Cloud said.

After reaching a deal on shared water services and police earlier this year, discussions on how to pay for it all are coming into focus. City and town residents will cover the approximately $4.8 million cost for the joint department. The cost will be split evenly and comes with a plan to hire four new officers.

“There’s some synergy between issues around growth. You know, most people that I talk to about this agreement say things like, ‘That’s a no-brainer,’ ‘It’s about time,’ ‘Let’s get to work,’” Cloud said.

Officials say they hope the department will put a renewed emphasis on the drug crisis.

“I think we are in a pretty good place overall. But, kind of how everything is trending. You know an uptick in crime across the board. We have seen upticks in auto theft. Obviously, drug-related activity,” St. Albans Town Manager Sean Adkins said.

I spoke with the St. Albans police chief off camera. He tells me his team is ready to take on the responsibility of the city and town. He says as time goes on, there will be more officers added to the force.

Some people don’t exactly agree with the merger, but some people think it’s a great idea.

“It’s a cost savings when two communities can share resources and people. It’s also, I think, a good spirit of cooperation between city and the town,” said David Hutchinson of St. Albans.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea. They have actually done an amazing job getting to know every individual and constituent, even people in the homeless programs as a matter of fact,” said Carrie Michaud of St. Albans.

The plan will become official starting July 1, 2024.

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St. Albans city, town reach deal on shared police, water services