Town of Liberty deciding whether to build new police station or disband police force

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LIBERTY, N.C. — The Town of Liberty has to make a big decision in the coming months regarding the future of the police department.

In less than 24 hours, there could be some heated discussion in the town of nearly 2,600 people. Leaders are asking for citizens' thoughts and opinions on whether or not they should get rid of the police department or build a new police station.

The current building on Swannanoa Avenue has been the home of the small force since the 1970s. The town manager, William Doefer, showed the FOX8 crew the structural deficiencies inside and outside of the building. According to Doefer, the town could spend millions of dollars on building a modern facility or there's a possibility to contract police services with a nearby agency.

"One alternative that hadn`t been previously considered was partnering with the sheriff`s office," said Doefer.

The town's over tax revenue from people living here is slowing declining, which funds services like the police department.

"The most difficult thing about making this decision is that we have to look at the long-term future of the Town of Liberty and we have to balance that long-term future with availability of funding," said Doefer.

So far, the surveyor results have come back 50/50. Doefer said that most of the concerns that came up in the survey are about response times.

"The sheriff`s department in counties are not always going to be able to get to emergency calls as quickly as maybe a small-town police department would, so if they were to shut it down then they`d be taking a lot of protection away from citizens," said Mirinda Foster. She visits Liberty at least three times a week.

As town leaders continue to weigh options, they're seeking feedback from residents on what they would like to see happen in their town. Residents can participate in an online survey and share their ideas during a work session meeting at town hall at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 21.

"Anything that will make things better and safer for the folks in Liberty I`m all for that, whichever decision. However they can combine it or build better whatever will make things better and safer for the people here," said Carole Gayle.

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