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Struggling NC town votes to disband PD in favor of county sheriff’s office

Town officials say a contract with the sheriff’s office will save them $1.3 million over three years

Mocksville (N.C.) Police Department

Mocksville (N.C.) Police Department

By Suzie Ziegler

MOCKSVILLE, N.C. — A small North Carolina town voted Tuesday to disband its police force in favor of a contract with the county sheriff’s office, according to The Charlotte Observer. Town officials say the change will save the community $1.3 million over the next three years.

Not everyone agrees with the decision or the reasoning. Brandon McGaha, a spokesperson with North Carolina’s Benevolent Police Association, says he believes the decision is political.

“It was more of a political issue before it ever became a budgetary issue,” McGaha said after the vote, WGHP reported. “They are using the budgetary issue to get rid of the police department for other reasons that started long before the budget was on the table.”

Ken Gamble, Mockville’s town manager, denies this.

“The town is not divesting funds from the police and reallocating them to social services, youth services, housing, education or healthcare,” he said in an email obtained by the Observer. “The town did this to be responsible stewards of tax dollars.”

According to the report, Gamble says the town is facing a $600,000 shortfall in its budget. He added that the contract will increase street patrols and give the town access to more officers if there is an uptick in crime.

Mocksville has a population around 5,000 people, according to the Observer. About 20 people will lose their jobs when the town disbands the police department on June 30.

“In a perfect world, we wouldn’t be here, but this is where we are,” Mayor Will Marklin said in an interview with WXII. “In a business sense, this is what’s best for the town. This is what’s best for the taxpayers.”