The Hertford Police Department in North Carolina has been disbanded in an effort to save the town money.
According to Fox 8, the Hertford Town Council voted to disband the police department months ago in a move to save money. The mayor says it will save over $300,000 a year.
Some council members questioned the decision, as Hertford is one of the highest funded towns in the state.
“How is it a money issue when our fund balance has been amongst the highest in North Carolina?” Councilman Quentin Jackson asked.
Jackson described the move as “somber.” The now-defunct police department had resided in Hertford for over 250 years.
Residents also reacted negatively to the news.
“I think we should have kept our police department, because they are right here in the town,” resident Mike Turksma said.
“I feel like more police, the better, because every sheriff can’t get to each case,” added resident Linda Hall.
The Perquimans County Sheriff’s Office will take over Hertford’s calls from now on, and will permanently assign four deputies to cover the town, according to Sheriff Shelby White.
“We are going to be there. We are going to be answering calls and do the best we can for the community and provide for the community,” White said.
Some council members raised concerns about the new relationship and communications between the sheriff’s office and their council, and if the office would be able to respond to calls in a timely manner. They were also worried about how the council would deal with an deputy-involved shooting.
“He doesn’t have answer any questions that the town deems necessary,” Jackson said.
White said he looks forward to working with council members. In the meantime, he is focused on hiring new deputies to make sure the area has a law enforcement presence.
“I know there are reasons why the town needed to do it or wanted to do it and I’m here in support,” White said.
Hertford is the county seat of Perquimans County in the eastern part of the state. According to a 2010 census, the population was 2,143. Hertford is part of North Carolina’s “Inner Banks” region.
This isn’t the first town in N.C. to have its police department disbanded this year.
In May, the Mocksville Police Department entered into a contract with the Davie County Sheriff’s Office to essentially merge into the latter agency. The move was touted as being able to save $1.3 million over a 3-year period.