Town council votes to dissolve its police department, dissolve nearly two dozen jobs – and told the public before the cops

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MOCKSVILLE, NC — A town council in North Carolina voted unanimously to completely dissolve its police force and rely solely on its county sheriff’s office for law enforcement services.

It also claimed that dissolving its police department will actually increase “boots on the ground” by 75 percent via exclusive use of the sheriff’s office.

On Tuesday, the Mocksville Town Council voted unanimously in favor of letting the Davie County Sheriff’s Office provide all law enforcement services in Mocksville effective July 1 after the Mocksville Police Department (MPD) is disbanded on June 30, according to WXII 12.

WXII reporter Lee Anne Denyer covered the meeting and said five people spoke during the citizen comment portion of the meeting and encouraged the town to not dissolve MDP and switch exclusively to the sheriff’s office.

In a tweet, Denyer noted some of the comments made by citizens, including:

“‘I am deeply concerned and disturbed.’
 
“‘I feel like I’m at a funeral.’
 
“‘This is not a broken police department.'”

Denyer also tweeted a video where crying can be heard from the lobby after the council makes a motion to approve the contract.
 
Previously on April 29, the town provided highlights of the proposed three-year contract in a press release, claiming taxpayers would save $1.3 million while also increasing “boots on the ground street level coverage by 75%.”
 
The press release also noted that abolishing the police department will eliminate “duplication of services in investigations, management and support services” and that resources would be used more effectively and efficiently through data-driven “smart policing.”
 
Mayor Will Marklin told FOX 46 that dissolving the police department will result in the loss of about 20 jobs.

According to the press release, less is more:

“Sheriff’s deputies already work in Mocksville. The proposed contract will provide on average three and one-half deputies on patrol around the clock in the Town.

“The Mocksville Police Department routinely averages 2 officers on patrol.

“The net result is that the Town will have more law enforcement officers on patroon patrol than the MPD now provides for less money.”

The Davie County Sheriff’s Office notes on its webpage that its team consists “of men and women who have voluntarily dedicated themselves for public service to the Davie County community.”

Current duties of the Sheriff’s Office include maintaining the Davie Detention Center, Davie Animal Control, civil process services, criminal investigations, narcotics and day-to-day patrol throughout the county 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Marklin suggested the decision to abolish the police department was based on finances:

“In a perfect world we wouldn’t be here, but this is where we are and again, I think in a business sense this is what’s best for the town.

“This is what’s best for the taxpayers, and I think we are going to move forward with this decision.”

North Carolina Police Benevolent Association (NCPBA) representative Brandon McGaha said the decision to dissolve the police department was not just about funding. He told WXII 12:

“It was more of a political issue before it ever became a budgetary issue. They are using the budgetary issue to get rid of the police department for other reasons that started long before the budget was on the table.

“The decision was decided before we ever got in here. They went from having a job to losing their jobs in — how long did it take to vote? Five seconds? They just had their lives turned upside down, and it was turned upside down by small-town politics.”

McGaha also suggested to WXII 12 that there was an intentional effort to prevent the police department from excelling:

“This police department didn’t have a chance to be successful to the level that they wanted because they were doing everything they could to keep them from being successful. The decision was decided before we ever got in here.”

The town’s press release also acknowledged the embarrassing situation of police personnel prematurely learning about losing their jobs:

“The Town’s leadership team scheduled a meeting with all MPD staff prior to a press release at 5:00 p.m. on April 30, 2021 to announce that the Board of Commissioners will consider a contract for law enforcement services with the DCSO at the meeting on May 4, 2021.

“The Board felt strongly that MPD staff should be notified before the general public.

“Unfortunately, news of the contract became public earlier today and required a premature release of the press release.”

Mayor Marklin told FOX 46 that Mocksville’s police officers will have the opportunity to be law enforcement officers in Davie County as Sheriff JD Hartman has agreed to consider all qualified officers who meet the agency’s standards for open positions.

Hartman was previously employed at MPD in 1997 for one year before being hired by the Davie County Sheriff’s Office, according to the agency’s webpage.

However, McGaha told FOX 46:

“There’s no reason to think they wouldn’t be great at the sheriff’s office, but the well has been poisoned by this council to the sheriff, and I don’t think there is any real chance the sheriff is going to hire them, and I hope other agencies do because they are going to get fine officers.”

It is not clear if the sheriff’s office will need to hire more staff to cover the workload previously handled by MPD.

However, the mayor assured FOX 46 that if the town feels the sheriff’s office isn’t meeting the town’s needs, there are parameters that would allow them to amend the contract or potentially bring back the police department.

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