MINCO, Okla. (KFOR) – The town of Minco has appointed a new interim police chief, following police budget cuts and an explosive city council meeting earlier this week that resulted in half the police force walking off the job.
In a special meeting, the town voted Fredrick Johnson as acting police chief, along with a new city attorney.
Thursday’s gathering came without Monday’s fanfare and blowups over the budget cuts to the police department.
In that meeting, the now former police chief, Josh Fletcher, resigned from his position along with two others, essentially cutting the force in half.
In an interview Thursday with KFOR, Fletcher said he believed there wasn’t another option.
But, the force is still short-handed with the loss of three officers, and the predicament raises an important question about how many officers a police department needs, even in a smaller town, like Minco.
“[How many officers we need] …this is really the root of the issue, right,” said Fletcher in a phone call with the station.
“You can’t support vacation and training and sick time when you’re running 24/7 and you only have four or five officers,” he added.
Fletcher said he asked the council for more help last November, and submitted a proposal for seven full-time officers and two part-time officers.
“I included a 15% raise and it passed three votes to one. And we immediately, you know, started looking to hire more officers,” he continued.
Instead, the force is now down to just a few officers and a smaller budget than in previous years.
However, city leaders insist – it’s still safe in Minco.
“You’re not without police protection,” said Vice Mayor Susan Hollandsworth, while saying the town could rely on neighboring jurisdictions for help, if needed.