Town officials have been campaigning for the police department’s budget.
Select Board Chairman Joshua Terenzini said Wednesday that he and others have been giving out lawn signs in support of this year’s budget, which includes funding for another officer.
The lawn signs are white with blue lettering. They read “Thank you for supporting the Rutland Town Police Dept. Vote yes March 5.”
Terenzini said about 50 signs have been distributed. They’re paid for through donations, he said Friday. Terenzini, Town Administrator Bill Sweet, Police Chief Ed Dumas and Rutland Town Police Capt. Ted Washburn, recorded a half-hour video, “Meet the Rutland Town Police Dept.” now being shown on PEG-TV’s website and government channel at bit.ly/2SzhF5I, making the case for the budget.
Terenzini also wrote a column that ran in the Rutland Herald on Wednesday in which he made the case for approving the police budget.
Rutland Town voters approve budgets by department. This year’s Police Fund budget is Article 2, and the amount to be raised by taxes is $332,476, for a total budget of $431,616, a 15.75 percent increase over last year. The budget calls for $41,600 to be spent on the “second officer.” That includes the person’s salary. The total cost will be closer to $77,000, Terenzini said in an interview on Wednesday, once the officer’s vehicle and equipment are factored in.
The department currently has three officers, plus a part-time officer, however two of the full-time officers have other duties. Dumas is assigned to the Child First Advocacy Center, which investigates sex crimes against children in Rutland County, and Officer John Sly is assigned to the Rutland Town High School as a school resource officer. According to Terenzini, between these two assignments, the town is compensated about $100,000, which he said saves local taxpayers money.
That leaves Washburn and part-time officer James Gamble largely the ones responsible for handling calls and patrolling roads, Terenzini said. In 2018, he added, the Rutland Town Police Department responded to a little more than 1,000 calls.
Having another officer, he said, would allow more time for traffic patrols, which Terenzini said citizens have been quite vocal about. It would also allow for seven-day coverage. Right now, calls to Rutland Town Police when a town officer isn’t on duty are routed to Vermont State Police.