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Burlington Police Receive Sizable Gift

An anonymous donation to the Burlington Police Department could lead to more officers on the streets.

Police Chief Doug Beaird said the department has been trying to raise money for about six months to reinstate its reserve officer program.  He said a series of fundraisers, including a softball tournament and bake sales, brought in about $30,000.

"And then, here recently, we had a private donation from an individual (who) lives here in Burlington in the amount of $20,000," said Beaird, "which was just an incredible gift to the department."  

Beaird said training and equipping a reserve police officer costs about $5,000, so with a goal of ten volunteers, the price tag would be $50,000, which has now been secured.

Beaird said the reserve officers will help account for the fact that his department is down to 41 sworn officers.

He said at first, they would ride along with sworn officers.

"So all of those calls that you get, whether it is a domestic disturbance, maybe an alarm, any type of call that might be in progress," said Beaird, "now you have a two-person car instead of a one-person car, which means you can serve one car instead of two."

Beaird said with time, two reserve officers could patrol together.  They have the same authority as sworn officers except when it comes to certain DUI cases.

Beaird said the goal is to add 2-3 reserve officers each year.  He said a recent testing session revealed the initial candidates for training.  

"That's about all we can handle at one time, so once these 2-3 are trained and up to speed, then we are going to reach back out, put the application back out and begin testing again."

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.