Home Vermont How Hinesburg is lending a hand to Richmond’s police force

How Hinesburg is lending a hand to Richmond’s police force

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RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) – The towns of Richmond and Hinesburg are in a bit of a bind– they currently don’t have enough police officers to go around. The towns talked about merging their two police departments but that process can be lengthy and would require legislative action. So they improvised.

The town of Richmond is in the process of trying to fill its police department, but in the meantime, the town of Hinesburg has come to the rescue.

“It’s just awesome to have a police force. Again, I am just so thankful that Hinesburg Selectboard allowed this to happen because, without their blessing, we would be up a creek,” said Mary Houle, who has lived in Richmond her entire life.

Houle says the town has never gone without their own police force, but for the past several months, that has been the case.

When Hinesburg agreed to provide services to her town and share their police chief, she was beyond grateful for their willingness to lend a helping hand while Richmond rebuilds its force.

“Although I have met some of the officers from Hinesburg. They seem to be very happy to be covering here. I just think that you need to have somebody that is from the community, like the Chief for example,” Houle said.

Last spring, Richmond was down to two officers and signed a contract with Hinesburg for some much-needed coverage for patroling and chief services. Since then, Richmond’s situation hasn’t gotten any better. So, they have come up with a plan to permanently share the Hinesburg chief. The two towns will maintain their own departments under one chief.

The deal is the first of its kind in Vermont.

“It’s pretty exciting in that respect. I think it is something that I think can really work for towns of our size. We are two towns, each have about 4,000 residents. So some shared services, especially in the policing end of it can provide a lot of benefits to each community,” Richmond Town Manager Josh Arneson said.

Richmond has fit the plan into its town budget for the next year if approved by the voters.

Hinesburg collects about $25,000 each month for the patrols and is looking to help Richmond hire three new officers or its force.

Hinesburg-Richmond Police Chief Anthony Cambridge says he thinks this is the way of the future for smaller towns.

“I definitely think it’s the direction that most towns are going to need to go in the state. It’s more cost-effective. It’s a way to provide good policing at a good price,” Cambridge said.

It is unclear at this time when Richmond will get those new officers in the building. Once they do, they will still need to work out how the forces will share the burden of both towns.

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