Busy Fourth of July weekend for Burlington Police
It was a very busy Fourth of July for the Burlington Police Department.
Dispatchers and officers handled nearly 100 calls between 3 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday. The 93 incidents included a burglary, a robbery, several assaults and alleged assaults, larcenies, an overdose, noise complaints and suspicious events.
Illegal fireworks displays account for a dozen of the calls. Burlington Police Acting Chief Jon Murad says fireworks are on the rise this holiday season. Last year, from Memorial Day weekend to the morning of July 5, there were about 10 reports. During the same time frame this year, there's been 93.
Murad says the high volume demonstrates why the department needs a full force. He says that's why last week's decision by the Burlington City Council to reduce the number of officers from 90 to 74 is cause for concern.
"If or when we begin to lose officers and get closer to that 74 number, our ability to respond to things and the services that we would provide will be diminished," Murad said.
He says while there are considerations to strengthen other service providers that would assume some responsibilities, he anticipates developing those methods will take a long time. He says he worries the department will lose officers faster than the city will be able to put those safeguards in place.