Piedmont leaders consider ditching police force

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PIEDMONT, Okla. -- One of the metro's fastest growing cities may ditch it's police force. City leaders in Piedmont are considering a plan to disband their police department and contract with the Canadian County sheriff's office to patrol their streets.

New construction and new homes are common sights in Piedmont.

That's why some citizens see a move to disband the police force as anything but progress.

"I don't think it's a good idea," said Janice Mills.

"I feel like our police officers are getting thrown under the bus," said Donya Hau.

"I think it's a horrible idea," said Bill Long.

In 2000, Piedmont had just over 3,600 residents.

As of 2010, that number jumped to more than 5,700.

Some fear ditching the police department would slow that growth.

"You don't move to a town that doesn't have a police department," said Mills.

"A growing community needs a police department," said Long.

"We would not be lowering our services," said Piedmont mayor Valerie Thomerson.

Mayor Thomerson says the proposed plan to contract with the Canadian County sheriff's department could provide improved 24 hour dispatching and investigation services, while still dedicating 8 deputies to patrolling the city 24/7.

"We're going to do this in a seamless way to make sure citizens don't see it," said Canadian County undersheriff Chris West.

"This is all politically motivated against the FOP, we know that," said Phillip Wise.

Wise sees the plan as simple retaliation after Piedmont police voted to unionize less than a year ago.

City leaders say contracting with the county sheriff would save Piedmont $300,000 a year. That money could then be used fix city streets.

Ultimately this will be up to the city council in Piedmont. They plan to talk about the idea at their meeting in a couple of weeks.

No word when the final vote would happen.

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