Walnut Cove Police Department to disband

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WALNUT COVE, N.C. -- In a 3-1 vote Thursday night Walnut Cove town commissioners voted to disband the town police department laying off four full-time officers.

"It was all to save money," said mayor Lynn Lewis. "It was a tough decision for everyone but we felt it was what was best."

The town will contract law enforcement out with the Stokes County Sheriffs Department at a price tag of $140,000 a year.

"It's not what the people wanted," said Charles Mitchell, the only town commissioner to vote against the move. "I believe when business come looking at Walnut Cove they will look at our schools and police department, and now we don't have one."

Lewis said estimates show by contracting out with the county the town could save around $1 million over the next five years.

Details on turning police department equipment over to the county have already been worked out. Stokes County Sheriff Mike Marshall said he would hire up to four officers for the sheriff's office to patrol the town, and will give consideration to applicants from the town.

The Stokes County Sheriffs Department will begin providing law enforcement for Walnut Cove on August 1st.