MEIGS, Ga. (WALB) - The Meigs Mayor and council members voted to shut down the Meigs Police Department. They say budget issues are to blame.
Both Meigs city council member and a resident tell us they believe the decision to shut down the department was personal.
Interim Meigs Police Chief Antonio Mango says he’s still shocked the police department is closing in less than two weeks.
“There was a 3 to 2 vote passed by the city council in favor of shutting the police department down. I did not agree with it, it was said that there were budget problems for the police department. According to the budget figures, we are actually $12,200 under budget,” Mango said.
Interim Chief Mango shares that he doesn’t understand why the city is calling it a budget issue when they just asked about a re-hire.
“Just a month ago, we were talking about hiring an officer who had been let go. And so there was not an issue then. The council never spoke of a budget issue but now all of a sudden we have a budget issue,” said Mango.
Mango says that even if he doesn’t become Meigs police chief, he wants the city to reopen the department.
“I would hope that they would open it back up, at least for the citizens regardless if I am the chief or they have someone else as the chief. Because this department needs to run and this city needs a police department,” Mango said.
Besides the people who now have to depend on Thomas County Sheriff’s office for immediate assistance, Mango says they aren’t the only ones that would suffer.
“I feel bad for my officers as well. These officers they’re now unemployed as of the 24th of this month and they have families, and bills, and homes. They are just trying to live a decent life,” Mango said.
Chief Mango says he is optimistic and hopes the city reconsiders their decision.
“I have been here for 62 years, and we always had a police department. We had a crime yesterday. If Chief Mango was not present or on the scene, the crime would have been dismissed or it never would have happened,” said Meigs resident, Beverly Manning.
“Well, I am 100 percent in favor of keeping the police department. I really don’t understand the reasoning of doing it. I know that part of them don’t like the police department. They have their own ideas of who they think should be there. I think part of the council has personal reasons as to why they want to get rid of the police department,” said City Councilman, Tommy White.