Residents vote on police department - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Residents vote on police department

September 5, 2003

Sycamore- Gas station owner Brad Vyas doesn't worry about helping customers during the day, but his store stays open until midnight an hour when security is a must.

"Sometimes if we are here by ourselves we always like the police to help us out," he says. But there weren't any local policeman to help when a clerk called 9-1-1 two weeks ago.

"My employee was here, and we had a drive off and she called and it took like 15 to 20 minutes for the police to come down here," Vyas adds.

Right now Turner County sheriff's respond to calls in Sycamore. That's because back in May, in a 3-2 vote the city council voted to shut down the local police department. And when citizens complained the mayor took action.

Since Thursday residents have been voting whether they want a local police department that would work primarily during the night, or contract 24-hour law enforcement services from Ashburn. The ballot also asks whether residents would be willing to pay an increased millage rate to fund the department.

"My opinion is and has always been is that I wants what the public here wants. They are the ones who put me in this office, they're the ones that can take me out. They're the ones that will pay the taxes on this department and whatever they want is satisfactory to me," says Mayor Wayne Woodruff.

The city will extend the vote until Tuesday evening giving residents like Vyas a chance to weigh-in on the issue.

"If you have a police station here, it would be so quick. They are faster if they are here. They can come here and reach us quickly, and we stay away from troubles that's more important," Vyas adds.

You do not have to be registered to vote to cast your ballot in the straw poll. Voting will continue at City Hall Monday and Tuesday from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Posted at 5:30 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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