The safety of all Burlington residents and visitors must always be a core value and service of our local government. While there is broad agreement that all members of our community need public safety, we also need to examine how policing can be improved so that everyone in our community feels safe and is being treated fairly. Public safety requires a professional police force committed to upholding laws established by our elected officials. Privatizing and outsourcing public safety, is dangerous for all community members. Police should not be a subsititute for other social services, and too often they are called to do just that due to the defunding of mental health care and the social safety net. We need a fully funded and well trained professional police force as well as mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and affordable housing. None of these groups can function well without the full funding and help of the others.
As we move forward, we must include all stakeholders at the table. While these conversations will not always be easy, they are essential in our shared efforts in creating a public safety system that works for everyone.
Racism exists in our community, as it does in all communities. It also exists in our policing system. We have much work to do on this front and I am committed to finding solutions and working with you in creating policies to make our community safer for everyone.