12 On Your Side: Mayor lets majority of police force go

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, June 19, 2012

STAPLETON, Ga. -- Some residents are angry after the new mayor of Stapleton let three of the city's four part-time police officers go.

"I don't think it's done right or handled right to start with," said Harold Smith, a former mayor of Stapleton.

He worries crime may increase with the decrease in officers on the streets.

"I've had a trailer, golf cart and truck stolen," he said.

Mayor Frank Parrish refused to talk to News 12 On Your Side. The city attorney told News 12's Elizabeth Owens over the phone that the mayor made the decision to get rid of the majority of the force to make way for a full-time chief's position.

Smith says the mayor terminated the three officers as a result of "small town politics."

City officials would not comment on why they laid off the three officers before they hired the full-time officer.

The current lone part-time officer will work weekends. The sheriff plans to step his patrol up during the weekdays. Sheriff Gary Hutchins of Jefferson County admits Stapleton's lack of officers will put a temporary strain on the deputy patrolling the northern end of the county. However, Sheriff Hutchins promises he will do his best to help the town out.

An advertisement for the open position will run in a local paper on Wednesday. City officials hope to have a new officer hired within a month.

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