Getting Rid Of Ringgold Police Could Prove Costly
Bienville Sheriff Says Town Could Pay Twice As Much As It Will Save
Last week, the mayor of Ringgold said it would save the town more than $100,000 to do away with the police department and let the Bienville Sheriff's Office take over, but the sheriff says it'll cost the town that much and then some.
"My lowest paid deputy makes as much as the chief of police if that gives you an idea. For six people, it's going to be a lot of money. It's going to be a substantial amount," said Sheriff John Ballance.
Ballance says he will only take over the police department if it's the what the people want. Judging by the crowd at Tuesday night's special meeting, they don't want it.
Citizens told the mayor and council members they want to keep the police department just the way it is.
Mayor Stephone Taylor refused to comment after the meeting.
During the meeting, Taylor said it costs $260,000 a year to operate the police department. That's a huge chunk of the town's general funds.
The council now has three choices. Keep the police department as is, pay the sheriff to take it over or just do away with the police department's budget altogether which would mean an extra burden on the sheriff.
"I'd have to give the citizens the same police duties inside the city limits as I do outside city limits," said Ballance.
Ballance says he's prepared to do whatever it takes, but he's already two deputies short.
No word when the mayor or council will make their decision.