Advocacy Update – City Council Postpones Action on Police Department “Staffing Crisis”

UPDATED 1/29 to include letter for organizations to sign on to.

Monday night, the Burlington City Council voted to postpone action on the staffing crisis facing our Police Department, stating that they were not prepared to take action that may put residents at risk. 

Specifically, the council declined to vote on Mayor Weinberger’s proposed Public Safety Continuity Plan. The council will revisit the item at its February 8th meeting. This proposal, in part, is designed to address staffing issues which, if left unaddressed, make it highly likely that in the near future the residents of Burlington will not be able to reliably expect local police response 24 hours a day. 

During the 2 hour public forum, it was announced that the plan earned support from a group of 20 former City Councilors and a former Mayor representing every political affiliation with over 100 years of combined experience. In their letter, which you can read here, the group wrote, “We implore the City Council to adopt the proposed Public Safety Continuity Plan and ensure that adequate public safety services are reliably available 24 hours a day. The safety of the public is the most important function of a local government, and the City Council is central to ensuring it.”

This letter proved meaningful in convincing the city council of the severity of the problem. In the coming days, the BBA will be considering how we can participate in similar efforts to elevate the voices of you and our entire membership. Please contact Kelly Devine if you’d like to discuss.

To learn more about the developments from last night’s meeting, you can read this VT Digger article and watch this report from WCAX

The official documents from last night’s meeting have also been provided below: 

This is an ongoing issue of great concern to all of us, so we will be in touch with you in the coming days with guidance on who the business community can best engage in the conversation around this important issue.  

 

UPDATE (1/29/21)

A group of businesses has written a letter for organizations to sign on to in order to voice support to the City Council of maintaining 24-Hour public safety services.

The letter will not be sent with any fewer than 50 signatures. You will also have the opportunity to review the final letter prior to it being delivered to the City Council.

View the letter and sign.

To: Burlington City Council
From: ## Local Business and Non-Profit Organizations

Re: Maintaining 24-Hour Public Safety Services

We are a group of ## Burlington business and non-profit organizations representing 1000’s of employees and Burlingtonians. Like you, we care greatly about the Burlington community, the wellbeing of all residents, and vitality of her future.

Following suit of the group of former elected representatives who shared the same sentiment, we recognize that public safety is more than just policing and agree there should be robust conversation on how policing and public safety generally can be improved.

We implore the City Council to adopt a Public Safety Continuity Plan that ensures adequate public safety services are reliably available 24 hours a day. The safety of the public is the most important function of a local government, and the City Council is central to ensuring it.

Please act swiftly to adopt a plan that ensures base-level public safety services and not cause undue and needless risk to our community.

Thank you.

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