Meigs, GA (WALB) - The City of Meigs is essentially operating without a police force.
City leaders voted this week to fire Police Chief Darrell Laster, leaving the city with only one officer.
Several Meigs residents said they’re worried they won’t be as protected anymore.
However, the newly-named interim police chief said he’s already interviewing people to fill the vacancies in the department.
“The thing is trying to replace that is hard," said Interim Police Chief Antonio Mango.
Mango said he’s trying to hire part-time and full-time employees. He said he’s being transparent about the issues the department is facing.
“I’m letting these guys know, ‘Hey, if you come into work, I may need you more than some other departments.' Part-time police departments need their part-time people," said Mango.
Mango said he’s incredibly grateful to be receiving additional help from the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office.
Mayor Cheryl Walters said this system can only be so useful to Meigs residents.
“It may be 20 minutes or longer before they can get here on the scene. And if they’re on another call, it may take even longer. They will come, but if you have an officer on duty, in just a few minutes, he’s there," explained Walters.
This comes after Walters broke a tie vote to fire former Police Chief Darrell Laster.
Walters said it was the best outcome for the city.
We reached out to Laster, who claims “the [Meigs] city council fired him because he fired an officer who was stealing time.”
The officer he is referring to is an officer who resigned after being put on administrative leave last week.
“The culmination that led to the chief’s dismissal goes back over a year," said Walters.
Walters said these problems stem from the lack of structure in the city government.
“Being without a city manager for the long period of time that we’ve been without one, there has been no overview or supervision of each one of the department," said Walters.
To make sure the city doesn’t face something like this again, Walters said she will hold weekly staff meetings with city employees. This way, she’ll be able to monitor more closely how each department is operating.
Walters said the first staff meeting for Meigs employees will be held next Monday.