Ringgold Mayor Wants To Get Rid Of Police
Mayor Says The Sheriff's Deputies Can Patrol The Town
The Ringgold Police Department could soon be a faded memory if Mayor Stephone Taylor has his way.
"Not only will we probably have better coverage since the sheriff's office has more resources than the town, but we'll also save a lot of money," said Taylor.
Taylor says doing away with the police department could save the town up to $100,000 a year, but it will cost six officers their jobs.
If the officers are looking for sympathy from the mayor, their out of luck. Taylor is upset about the arrest of the town's water superintendent over the weekend.
John Hamilton, 66, is charged with battery on an officer and resisting arrest.
"This is just some bogus stuff trumped up by a rogue mentality of police officers in Ringgold," said Taylor.
Even though the alleged crime happened in front of a council room filled with people, Taylor says he's confident the charges will be dismissed.
"Mr. Hamilton was there to keep the peace and it was the police officers who were there to stir uproar," said Taylor.
This isn't the first time the mayor has been at odds with police. Earlier this year, Taylor tried to appoint himself chief after Chief Lawson Bradley suddenly passed away. Taylor then tried to appoint an interim who worked offshore, but the town's attorney advised against it.
Council members decided to let the Governor make the appointment. It's still pending in Baton Rouge. Also pending, a recall petition against Mayor Taylor.
"We sent the mayor his certified letter," said Ken Whitfield.
Whitfield, who helped circulate the petition, says more than four hundred people signed it.
"The mayor just wants control of everything. He should have just asked the people," said Whitfield.
Asking the people is just what Bienville Sheriff John Ballance plans to do. He says before he makes any decision about taking over patrol, he wants to hear from the citizens.
Ballance will be at the town hall meeting next Tuesday night at seven.