St. Louis County town in debt may disband police

Missouri

BEL-RIDGE, Mo. – Bel-Ridge, Missouri is drowning in debt and facing serious decisions concerning budget cuts, including disbanding its own police force. On Tuesday night, an auditor reminded city officials the town has spent more than they have, to the tune of $275,000.

“We gotta head this city in the right direction or the state will come take over, so we gotta save our city,” Bel-Ridge Mayor Willie Fair said.

The mayor and another alderman said everything is on the cutting table to save money, including the police department.

“We’re going to do what we have to do for the city to survive,” Fair said.

They are considering paying other area police departments to protect their community.

“It’s all finances, as you can see from the accountant’s report and the state auditor’s report,” Alderman Glen Tobe said.

Citizen and former alderman Mike Ruff said the community won’t be safe if they cut the local police department. People were giving that idea a big thumbs down. They want officers on duty who know them and their families.

“These police officers, they intermingle with our young people and you know we don’t feel we’re going to get that, the among of coverage, they know who people are,” Ruff said.

People have requested a town hall meeting on the issue. City officials say they will hold one once they get together a proposal to discuss.

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