Feuding between police and city leaders leaving residents vulnerable to crime

Spencer, Okla. – Some Spencer residents told NewsChannel 4 that fighting between the police department and city leaders is leaving them vulnerable when it comes to crime.

Charlene Rideau has lived on a street that bears her family’s name for more than 45 years and for the first time, someone broke into her home.

She’s one of seven victims bandits hit in the past two weeks.

“I knew about the other burglaries, but I’m trying to figure out why would they want to burglarize here because we had a fire,” said Rideau.

It has been two months since that fire, but it didn’t stop thieves from pillaging through what was left.

She said they stole trailers, riding lawn mowers, an industrial size barbecue pit, refrigerators and they even gutted the SUV out front.

What burglars didn’t take, they destroyed.

Rideau said thieves have been back three times since Saturday.

“I’m just hurt inside, my heart is just in pieces, to see something or do something like this. You’re not taking it so why destroy it,” said Rideau.

Ever since the police chief has been placed on paid administrative leave, Spencer police say there have been more burglaries.

The FOP said officers are leaving as a result of an internal fight with city leaders.

“We have an agency that’s gone from seven to three people in a matter of weeks. We believe this directly affects the up rise in crime in Spencer,” said Matthew Cline Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Cline said the remaining three officers are working double and triple shifts to patrol a population of 3,900.

“It leaves the city wide open because the bad guys all know where we are, they watch us just like we watch them. And it makes it harder to solve some of those cases,” said Cline.

Due to pending disciplinary hearings, the city manager could not comment on the ongoing dispute between the police department and city leaders.