Local News

Rutland launches campaign to recruit police, staffing shortage leads to budget cuts

By Tiffany Tan/VTDigger

The Rutland Police Dept. has launched a campaign to recruit more police officers, even as eight jobs were recently cut from the force.

The recruiting campaign includes a 5 -minute video, which is posted on the department’s Facebook page. The video features a reenactment of a criminal investigation and arrest, and several Rutland police officers’ talking about why they got into law enforcement.

“We wanted to take it from the standpoint of why people in the community wanted to be police officers,” said Gavin Owens, owner of Go Studios, which produced the video for Rutland police.

The police department has also posted a job ad on PoliceApp, a website for law enforcement jobs around the U.S. The application deadline is May 23, 2022.

The department also is reaching out to police unions across the country, spreading the word that it’s hiring, Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said. It plans to target areas where a significant number of officers have left their jobs within the past year, such as Chicago, New York City and Seattle, all of which required that their officers get Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Rutland Police Dept. is authorized for 40 jobs but has 13 vacancies — the most that Kilcullen said he has seen since becoming chief in 2015.

In an effort to limit tax increases in fiscal year 2023, which begins next July 1, Mayor David Allaire proposed funding only six of the 13 open positions, cutting seven jobs. Given the nationwide difficulty of recruiting police officers, Allaire believes the other vacancies likely would remain open.

The Board of Aldermen’s public safety committee went even further, voting Dec. 9 to eliminate yet another officer position. That meant taking $75,000 out of the mayor’s proposed police budget.

The full board approved that move during a special meeting Thursday night, Dec. 16, where aldermen endorsed a $22.7 million budget for the coming fiscal year, according to a copy of the financial document on the Rutland City website.

The city budget is headed to Rutland voters on March 1, Town Meeting Day.

The city police department was allotted $6,361,000 — down 6.6% from its current budget of $6,814,000.

However, the police chief is optimistic about the department’s hiring efforts, since the mayor promised to find additional money if the department succeeds in recruiting more officers than budgeted.

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