By PoliceOne Staff
ALTO, Texas — A small Texas town has shut down its entire police department.
Facing dramatic budget cuts, the city’s efforts to control costs in Alto sent the police force home June 15, and law enforcement is now on hold.
Former police chief Charles Barron and four ex-officers secured the evidence room, changed the passwords on their computers and locked the department's doors, preparing for a closure that will last at least six months.
If the $185,000 city budget deficit does not improve, the officers could be out of work longer, CBS News reported.
"There have been accusations that the police department is not generating enough revenue,” Barron said. “Well, police departments are not revenue generators."
"Everybody's talking about 'bolt your doors, buy a gun,' " said Monty Collins, Alto's mayor, who was against the measure.
Now, county sheriff's deputies will handle calls in Alto, but that means police response times that were less than 3 minutes are now up to 15 minutes, and deputies are spread thin, according to CBS News. Twenty-five deputies and reservists will oversee a 1,000 square mile county.
Alto residents are sending around a petition to try to get their police force back.