Burlington police seek additional officers to fight uptick in crime

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- With an uptick in violent crime, officers at the Burlington Police Department are stretched thin.

Capt. Brett Taylor said officers are working overtime, some have had schedules shifted and the Alamance County Sheriff's Office is providing deputies to help them out.

In a letter to city council, Chief Jeffrey Smythe said "we lack the resources to adequately deal with these issues." At Tuesday's city council meeting, he will request that council approve his application for a federal grant that would help fund six additional officers.

The letter explains that the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant, if received, would fund up to 75 percent of salaries for up to six new officers in their first year. Federal funding would decrease each year -- to 70 percent and then 55 percent. By fiscal year 2019-2020, federal funding would drop to 0 percent. The City of Burlington would be financially responsible for covering whatever federal funding does not each year.

"We currently have up to six officers and supervisors working on overtime to address this problem," the letter from Chief Smythe to council states. "While this might be effective in the short term, it is not a sustainable model of deployment due to cost and negative impact on staffing and morale."

Chief Smythe said the six officers would be used to reinstate the now defunct CCAT or Community Crimes Abatement Team, which would target high crime areas and address violence such as the drive-by shootings.

To read the full letter from Chief Smythe to the Burlington City Council, click here.