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Shelburne OKs bonuses for police retention, recruitment

Shelburne will offer $10,000 to new police officers and dispatchers over their first two years on the job as part of a new retention and recruitment program.

The Shelburne Selectboard June 28 unanimously approved the program, which gives extra money to both new and recent hires in the town police department. The plan went into immediate effect and will cost an estimated $207,500.

“It’s that recruitment that’s going to get them in the door,” Police Chief Mike Thomas said. “The retention will hopefully keep them here.”

Shelburne Police Chief Mike Thomas said a new program could bring the department back to full staffing levels and help reduce overtime hours for current officers and dispatchers. The department would ideally have between 12 and 15 officers, he said, but right now has only five full-time officers. A sixth officer is in training, the chief said.

The new initiative will give certified officers and dispatchers a $5,000 sign-on bonus, plus added bonuses if they stay longer. The same goes for those who are uncertified but plan to go through academy and training.

The program comes after departments across Vermont have struggled to maintain staffing in recent years. In the wake of mass unrest after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd in 2020, police actions have come under more scrutiny than ever before, and some state and local leaders say that has affected staffing across Vermont.

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