FRIENDSHIP Ark. (KTHV) - One small Arkansas town is losing its police department. The mayor of Friendship says there just aren't enough residents to justify the need. Friendship's mayor says numbers are the main problem here, and we're not just talking about the number of residents. We're talking about the number of dollars in the bank.
Mayor William Garrett says dissolving the police department will save them money. He says there only around 80 occupied homes in Friendship, so he doesn't see a problem with not having a police force, but residents we spoke with have a different opinion.
"It does give me some concern for all the elderly people living around here."
Greg Divine lives in Friendship and is concerned the safety of his hometown of 30 years.
"Most of the people in this part of the country have lived here all their lives and they are all getting to retirement age and they need the protection and security."
Divine says it's a security only a police department can provide. After Monday's City Council meeting, it's a security Friendship is no longer providing.
Mayor William Garrett says the council voted to dissolve the department.
"They worked part-time, they had other full-time jobs, some of them worked less than 20 hours a week so as far as a police presence, we had no full time police presence for a number of years."
Last month, the council voted to suspend the department. Garrett says this is a way for them to save money and get out of debt. Mayor Garrett says a couple of big ticket items left over from the police department are these two cars, he hopes to sell these to another agencies as is, if not he will send them to a garage where they will be stripped of their equipment and sold through a county auction.
"The finances of this community and the revenue stream of this community such that we could not provide the certification of our police officers."
The Hot Spring County Sheriff's Office will now be policing the area. They are about 18 miles away. The closest police station is in Caddo Valley, which is about 4 miles away.