Jul 07, 2011 12:10 AM GMT
Texas Mayor Warns Residents To 'Bolt Your Doors' After City Lays Off Entire Police Force
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304231204576405763808298714.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5ALTO, Texas—People here are bracing for a spike in crime after the city put its police force on furlough.
"Everybody's talking about 'bolt your doors, buy a gun,' " said Monty Collins, Alto's mayor, who was against the measure.
City Council members sent the police home when they decided they couldn't afford them. On June 15, the police chief and his four officers secured the evidence room, changed the passwords on their computers and locked the department's doors for six months—longer if local finances don't improve by then.
The closure of small-town police forces is part of a broader consolidation of services in communities across the U.S. Keeping the peace is rarely a revenue-making operation and is easier to outsource to county or state agencies than responsibilities such as utilities, some officials say. Others see advantages in having a bigger, more professional force patrol their communities.
"We had to do something drastic," said Jerry Flowers, councilman and hay farmer. "The police department, being a non-money-making entity, was the easiest to get rid of while we catch our breath and build up some cash."