County could take over Timmonsville law enforcement
Wed, 09 May 2012 16:48:26 GMT —
Two Florence County deputies inspected inventory and took a tour of the Timmonsville Police Department Wednesday morning, and Timmonsville councilman Jim Pigate says he's pretty sure it's because the Florence County Sheriff's Office will soon provide coverage for the town.
Pigate says council has not voted to get rid of its police department, but he expects Mayor Darrick Jackson to call another emergency meeting to announce he has enough votes to disband the police department because of budget problems.
Timmonsville councilman Clarence Joe is questioning how deputies could handle the town. Timmonsville police respond to about 400 calls a month, and he says their response time is about two minutes.
"I think it's a tragedy, and when I look at what's going on. This is what the new leadership the citizens have voted for. So I have to respect what they have voted for, but I just don't think this is the right decision to make as far as getting rid of the police department. The crime rate is bad enough as it is, and you think about the response as far as the Sheriff's Department coming. I mean, it's just gonna be terrible," said Joe.
Major Jackson says the town needs to find $400,000 to cover overdue bills.
We talked with a Timmonsville police officer who says, as of now, they're still working. But, he's packed up his belongings because he isn't sure what will happen after midnight.
Some residents say the whole idea of getting rid of the police department is absolutely ridiculous.
"That's messed up, because I think every town should have a police department. Not just because Timmonsville is a small town. Timmonsville has problems just like everywhere else," said Azzia Richardson.
Some officers say they approached council about a cut in their pay to help out with the bills but were told that's not an option.
They say they hope the council will keep them on because they need the health insurance for their families.
The town's police chief is still recovering from major surgery and needs continued medical treatment. Another officer has a wife who's expecting their second chid.
Police officers say they will continue to work until told otherwise.