Vincent City Council votes to temporarily abolish police department
VINCENT, Ala. (WBRC) - The Vincent City Council has unanimously voted to temporarily abolish the city’s police department after a special called town hall on Thursday, August 18.
The vote comes after the former police chief and assistant police chief were suspended after an alleged racist text message was sent. They were both suspended with paid leave. Vincent’s third and remaining officer resigned shortly after.
Mayor James Latimer confirmed Thursday that the messages were sent in June and officer who sent them was disciplined in July, before the texts were made public.
The Vincent City Attorney ruled that the suspended officers could not be terminated, per personnel policy.
While around a hundred people showed up to the town hall held at the Vincent Middle High School auditorium, 16 spoke in front of the city council. The majority of speakers said they wanted to keep the Vincent Police Department, pushing the need to have local faces serving and protecting the community.
Residents were also able to ask questions during their five minute time slot and the mayor answered all of them afterward.
Some questions surrounded the process of contracting with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. The mayor said each deputy would cost the city $95,000 for a 40-hour work week.
At the end of the meeting, the city council voted unanimously to temporarily dissolve the police department.
The city council plans to bring back the local police department at a later date. Mayor Latimer said they could use this time to conduct interviews with potential officers.
With the police department disbanded, the two officers on suspended paid leave will now be laid off.
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