Due to budgetary constraints, police in Smithfield, North Carolina are going to ignore all misdemeanor calls, robbery reports, and 911 calls from hotels…at least until the city gives the department some more gas money.
Gas Costs More Than Crime, Apparently
Police Chief Michael Scott (yes Michael Scott) has decided that all crimes do not require an investigation because the price of gas is too high to drive there. The Smithfield town council chose to cut funding for the towns police patrol cars by 14%, around $10,000 from the last year’s budget.
Police Chief Scott claims that the new budget will only allow the patrol cars to stay on the streets at current levels of operation until February. So, to conserve fuel the police department will no longer respond to any misdemeanor calls, even ones reported though their 911 services.
No Money = Hard Decisions
Police Chief Scott did try to get some more money for the police department. Unfortunately, the Johnston County council unfortunately refused to shift the proposed additional $30,000 from one budget to the police departments.
Whith his back against the wall, and limited fuel in the gas tanks of his cruisers, Police Chief Scott came up with the flowing plan: Calls that traditionally, for the area, turn out to be false alarms are not going to be investigated at all. These calls include 911 calls from hotels, crimes classified as misdemeanors, and robbery reports. Police Chief Scott is also proposing that the police just completely avoid Smithfield’s Westside and Southern End, because the limited crime there tends to be non violent.
Who is to blame for Smithfield North Carolina, essentially, being opened up to criminal activity? Police Chief Michael Scott? The Town Council? Or, something bigger?
It might be something bigger, because the spooky thing is other police departments across America have actually suffered even worse of a fate this year as budget woes have left entire cities without any law enforcement. In June, the Alto, Texas city council voted to eliminate the entire police force for six months to save money; to which Mayor Monty Collins of Alto Texas cautioned townspeople to lock their doors and “buy a gun.”
Not surprisingly, less than a month after the police force was dissolved in Alto Texas there was an attempted bank robbery. Is this the future of police enforcement, selective response based on fuel consumption? Let’s hope not.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.