Crime Tracker: Elkville Police on Chopping Block

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By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

JACKSON COUNTY -- Elkville held a special meeting this week to talk about the budget. The news is bleak. Major cuts are needed, and the police department may be the first to go.

As we've reported, the community has seen multiple home burglaries in recent weeks. That's why people say now is not the time to cut the force. Elkville's residents are already protected by a very small police force, made up of two officers.

Their support means everything to Lisa Barnes-Atterberry.

“There’s a lot of crime all the time and I know for a fact that goes on at night when the sun goes down,” Barnes-Atterberry explained.

She worries about response time if the sheriff's department has to cover their city.

“When you've got an emergency you need somebody ASAP,” she added.

Barnes-Atterberry saw that first hand, when her husband started having seizures unexpectedly. The town's police officer drove them to the hospital. She says those precious minutes saved her husband's life.

“There'd be a lot more problems without him,” agreed fellow crimestopper Matt Lewis.

He also sees value in the department, and one on one interaction with officers.

“I talk to Clay all the time. I don't want to see him gone because he knows everybody in town and knows what goes on,” Lewis said.

“We're at the critical stage now where we're either gonna pay bills or not have services,” Henry Stockton admitted.

The village commissioner and founder of the new neighborhood watch sees both sides of the issue.

“It's hard, it hurts,” he said.

Stockton hopes to find an alternative to phasing out the police force.

“Believe it or not, the tickets they write is a revenue. It may not be but pennies compared to what our debt is, but still that’s a revenue,” Stockton added.

The town's trying to sell their lake south of Elkville, to help pay for the police department. Leaders will try to finalize budget cuts at a meeting next Tuesday.

Send any Crime Tracker tips to sjones@wsiltv.com or www.facebook.com/samanthajonestv 

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