Hope remains for Shamrock Police Department, dispatch system - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Hope remains for Shamrock Police Department, dispatch system

A packed Shamrock City Hall for today's city council meeting (Source: KFDA) A packed Shamrock City Hall for today's city council meeting (Source: KFDA)
Shamrock City Council (Source: KFDA) Shamrock City Council (Source: KFDA)

The future of the Shamrock Police Department and dispatch system remains in limbo after a special city council meeting this evening.

This comes after police officers were asked to use their comp days as the city works to make the department more financially sound.

"It's a crying shame that we now find ourselves in the position we're in," said Shamrock Mayor Aaron Shannon. "With the police department and the dispatch system on the proverbial chopping block."

Shannon's opening statement of this evening's city council meeting aimed to calm the waters of what would turn into a public comment storm...

Many residents passionate about saving the Shamrock Police Department and dispatch system.

"I think it's a big mistake because we don't know what's going to happen when it goes away," said Shamrock Fire Chief Randy Tallant.

"I don't think you understand how vitally important it is to have public safety in a small town," Shamrock Assistant Fire Chief Barry Sanders. "I understand it's a financial crisis but everybody takes a hit you don't just get rid of one department and everyone keeps rolling the same way."

"Since our police department has been off duty, there's days I don't see a cop nowhere," said another concerned resident.

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On the other hand, some stood up for the city council, recognizing the difficult decision they have to make to get the city back on track.

"This evening, I want to commend all of y'all for taking on this task of fiscally trying to fix our city's financial problems... it is a big one," said one man. 

"If the city goes bankrupt because we can't afford the police department or the dispatch, what then?," said one woman.

City Manager Tommie Cole said they have to make cuts in order to maintain the city's infrastructure.

"Our sales and use tax is lower this year than it's been in history," said Cole. "Our population is lower than it's been in 60, 70 years or more. The decision that needs to be made tonight is based on what's good for the best of everyone."

One by one, each city council member also spoke up saying they're not ready to see the police department or dispatch system go, so they all reached a compromise.

"A smaller dispatch, keep the [Wheeler County] Sheriff's Department and also try to develop a little revenue with a city patrolman and code enforcement officer," said City Councilwoman Belinda Beck. 

The council unanimously agreed to the motion and tabled it.

They also discussed having a town hall to hear and answer concerns from residents in the future.

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