Three cheers for San Luis, Colorado for deciding it makes no sense to keep its police force. Instead it outsourced the duties to the county sheriff’s association.

Please consider Penny-Pinching Towns Put Police Out to Pasture

The sheriff will be walking the streets again in San Luis — the oldest community in Colorado. But it’s not a return to the Wild West; the town fired its entire police force to save money.

Around the country other towns — large and small — are also eliminating their police departments. The Los Angeles suburb of Maywood, Calif., fired its officers, as did rural Bethel, Maine. Near Pittsburgh, Fallowfield, Pa., also voted to disband its police department.

San Luis, established in southern Colorado in 1851, is facing a $750,000 budget deficit. The town of 740 residents has a median income is $20,875. It’s about 225 miles from Denver.

“We just did not have the money to pay these people,” San Luis Mayor Theresa S. Medina said by telephone.

She said firing the police chief and three part-time officers was expected to save about $10,000 a month in salaries, gas and car maintenance. The unanimous decision by the San Luis City Council on July 2 also saw the town’s sole maintenance worker fired, leaving the town clerk as the only employee.

At the monthly town meeting, the only opposition came from the police chief, Medina said. Discussions about a volunteer force didn’t make sense because the town would have liability problems, she said.

The decision to eliminate the police force in Bethel, Maine — 70 miles northwest of Portland — was also one that divided the vacation town of 2,500.

Bethel had only one full-time officer and five vacancies it hadn’t been able to fill, Town Clerk Christen Mason told AOL News in a telephone interview.

It would have cost $453,800 for academy-trained officers. The contract with the Oxford County sheriff, which started July 1, costs $295,000 per year, she said.

In Fallowfield, Pa., the supervisors voted 2-1 to fire the two full- and three part-time officers when their contract expires Dec. 31. The town, about 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, has 4,400 residents.

Supervisor Olga Woodward said in a telephone interview that she couldn’t comment because the police union may sue. However, 14 townships in Pennsylvania’s Washington County have no municipal police force, she said.

“This is happening everywhere,” Woodward said.

I wish this was happening everywhere. Moreover, it should happen everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s not happening everywhere. Nonetheless, every trend starts somewhere and this trend is rightfully picking up steam.

Police salaries and benefits are outrageous. Unions complain their life is on the line. Yet, here is the reality – any officer whining like a stuck pig has a clear option, an option to not take the job. The Sheriff’s association will take the job at a lower cost.

Shouldn’t government attempt to provide the most taxpayer benefits at the least cost instead of the fewest benefits at the most cost?

Public unions, without a doubt do the latter. If you want to do something about this you have a chance. Vote against any candidate endorsed by any public union.

Finally, note the absurd slant on the AOL News article.


Please be serious. Towns are acting “smartly”. It’s about time.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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