City police department still open for now, but days could be numbered

News 12 11pm / Monday, June 2, 2014

Washington, Ga. (WRDW) -- The future of a local police department is up in the air. Still no decision Monday night in Washington on whether the department stays or goes. The mayor says he'll at least wait until all city department budget's are reviewed, but he also says there's no doubt cuts need to happen.

The possibility of losing their police department is something some folks in Washington are not taking lightly.

"It upsets me Mr. Mayor and we've talked about this," said one man during the open mic session.

Those on both sides came to Monday night's city council meeting, but the only ones who decided to speak out where those against the closure.

"We as concerned citizens, are worried about the safety and security of this city," another person told the council from the podium.

Mayor Ames Barnett used a power point presentation to show how reserve funds are dwindling, even though operating expenses are shirking, but for those who spoke out there is no price tag on safety.

"We need a city police. God's handwriting is on the wall. We had two murders in this town in the last week. God is speaking to you Washington and Wilkes county. You got to get right," a concerned citizen told the crowd.

Mayor Barnett says he will now wait until all department budgets are reviewed before a decision is made, but one council member worries the mayor has already made up his mind. He's not buying anything he's selling, because he believes it's not business, it's personal for the mayor.

"Mayor do I need to tell them how this vendetta against the police department started? It's when your mother got locked up for DUI," said Councilman Nathaniel Cullars in the meeting.

The mayor denied that allegation even saying the councilman could get ejected for making it.

So, while the closure of the police department is put to rest for now. The drama and finger pointing in Washington continues.

Again, the mayor says the whole point of this is to save the city money, but at this point he can't say how much.

He says it depends on a lot of things. One of them being how much money they get from things like speeding tickets. So, he says that's why he can't give a figure.

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