Valdosta Daily Times

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June 25, 2013

Town shuts down police department

SMITHVILLE — Budget cuts have led city leaders in a small south Georgia town to shut down its police department.

The Smithville City Council decided at its meeting last week to lay off all four officers, WALB-TV reported.

Smithville Mayor Jerry Myrick said previously that budget cuts caused the city to cut back some employees, starting with the police department.

The Albany station reports that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office will be patrolling the town.

The mayor says the city was originally planning on keeping the police chief, but the city decided to do away with the entire department. The mayor says more cuts in the city are expected.

Some residents said they were concerned about their safety in light of the development.

“I got to wait, I’m going to have to wait for one to come if I need one. Which I hope I don’t. And that’s not fair to me and I pay taxes. Plus I been here 42 years,” said resident Alice Johnson said.

One of the police officers, Sammy Stone, said he believe the sheriff’s department will do what it can to provide law enforcement protection.

“I’ve had some real good success with the Sheriff’s Department and I feel the sheriff is going to give them what he got. As much as he can with what he have. I think he’s going to make sure things are going to be taken care of here in Smithville,” Stone said.

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