Piedmont to shut down police department to save money for roads

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PIEDMONT, Okla. -- The City of Piedmont is considering getting rid of its police department in order to save money. That extra cash is proposed to go toward fixing the pothole filled roads. Some think this is a win-win for both sides, others say not so fast.

Residents say the rickety rocky roads in Piedmont are not just a nuisance but a pavement of pain for drivers and their vehicles. We talked to motorists near 164th Street and Sara Road.

"It rattles, I have things falling off all the time. There's no way to avoid the potholes when he whole entire road is a pothole," said one driver.

Another compared it to wagon trails; while another said "It's terrible, it's pretty rough ride on your car. I'd do anything to get the potholes fixed."

Mayor Valerie Thomerson shares that sentiment.

"I've cracked two rims hitting a pothole on one side," she says.

At this week's city council meeting a proposal was introduce that's projected to bring in enough revenue to fix the roads. Thomerson says dissolving the police department - and relying solely on resources from the sheriff's office - could be the answer to smoother paths and saving cash.

"It would save approximately $300,000 a year. It would also increase the number of officers on the street. It would give us a K-9 unit and access to a tactical team," said Thomerson.

Some residents agree with the idea as long as there is still a law enforcement presence.

But those who disagree with the proposal took to Facebook expressing disdain stating: "It shouldn't be considered at all!!!" and "That is the most outlandish idea I have ever heard of."

Others told us having to travel to El Reno to the sheriff's office for basic services is inconvenient and a step back from all the progress the city has made.

City leaders hope the 10 sworn officers working for the police department would get hired by sheriff's office if the proposal passes.

Police department officials aren't ready to comment; neither is the sheriff's office.

But a public document from the sheriff's' office shows a snapshot of what it could cost to hire eight deputies and a supervisor. The price tag would be more than $600,000.

Officials tell us, the proposal has to be approved by the district attorney's office first, then it would go back to city council for a vote.

We're told the Piedmont FOP will have a response to this proposals soon. Piedmont has a population of nearly 6,000 residents.

We will update this story at that time.

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