Gentlemen: In response to your proposal for 24/7 police coverage, our public hearing held on January 10, 2024 as well as additional public input received, we wanted to provide a summary of the discussion and conversations.
There were over 50 people in attendance with an additional 20 or so attending via Zoom. The discussion focused on the existing 56 hours a week schedule, the new 70 hours per week schedule as well as the mirrored coverage of 24/7 coverage for both the Town and Village.
There was a good exchange of conversation and ideas brought forward. Overall, it seemed to be the consensus of those present that the 24/7 coverage proposal presented to the board is not affordable at the present time. There was also some concern over the 70-hour coverage, however that was perhaps more due to the cost given the increase in a variety of other areas of property taxes. The Selectboard explained why the 70-hour coverage works better as it relates to management of the shifts of the PD. The Selectboard informed the audience that we are in support of the 70-hour coverage and urged them to vote for it on Town Meeting Day.
The audience was informed that as the Town grows, we will eventually have to grapple with the issue of 24/7 coverage and reach a fair and equitable solution.
The proposed public safety complex was discussed only in the frame of the cost, and we did not get into specifics as it was explained it is a Village project and none of the Selectboard is qualified to give any details on the project. It is the opinion of the Selectboard as well as the general public opinion we have heard, is that the police station is currently grossly inadequate, but the cost seems to be a factor having people in opposition.
Going forward, we look forward to working with you in addressing the public safety needs of both the Town and Village of Swanton.
Sincerely, Town of Swanton Selectboard – Earl Fournier, Chair; Steve Bourgeois, Vice Chair; Nicole Draper; Cody Hemenway; and Joel Clark