MOCKSVILLE, NC — A town council in North Carolina voted unanimously to completely dissolve its police force and rely solely on its county sheriff’s office for law enforcement services.
It also claimed that dissolving its police department will actually increase “boots on the ground” by 75 percent via exclusive use of the sheriff’s office.
On Tuesday, the Mocksville Town Council voted unanimously in favor of letting the Davie County Sheriff’s Office provide all law enforcement services in Mocksville effective July 1 after the Mocksville Police Department (MPD) is disbanded on June 30, according to WXII 12.
The entire police department in Mocksville will be shut down, effective June 30. The town will enter a contract with Davie County Sheriff’s Office.https://t.co/SElrhM1lPj
— CBS 17 (@WNCN) May 5, 2021
WXII reporter Lee Anne Denyer covered the meeting and said five people spoke during the citizen comment portion of the meeting and encouraged the town to not dissolve MDP and switch exclusively to the sheriff’s office.
In a tweet, Denyer noted some of the comments made by citizens, including:
Public comment just wrapped up. A few moments include:
-“I am deeply concerned and disturbed”
-“I feel like I’m at a funeral”
-“This is not a broken police department”
All five comments encouraged board not to dissolve PD and transfer law enforcement to Davie Co Sheriff @WXII
— WXII Lee Anne Denyer (@WXIILeeAnne) May 4, 2021
Starting July 1, the Davie County Sheriff’s Office will provide law enforcement for the town of Mocksville. The board voted on the new contract last night at a tense and emotional meeting.https://t.co/gwIyKCXBd8
— WXII Lee Anne Denyer (@WXIILeeAnne) May 5, 2021
According to the press release, less is more:
“Sheriff’s deputies already work in Mocksville. The proposed contract will provide on average three and one-half deputies on patrol around the clock in the Town.
“The Mocksville Police Department routinely averages 2 officers on patrol.
“The net result is that the Town will have more law enforcement officers on patroon patrol than the MPD now provides for less money.”
The Davie County Sheriff’s Office notes on its webpage that its team consists “of men and women who have voluntarily dedicated themselves for public service to the Davie County community.”
Current duties of the Sheriff’s Office include maintaining the Davie Detention Center, Davie Animal Control, civil process services, criminal investigations, narcotics and day-to-day patrol throughout the county 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Town of Mocksville is considering disbanding the Mocksville Police Department and entering into a contract with the Davie County Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement in the town limits. https://t.co/X2GVzZXYaf
— WNCT (@wnct9) May 1, 2021
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Marklin suggested the decision to abolish the police department was based on finances:
“In a perfect world we wouldn’t be here, but this is where we are and again, I think in a business sense this is what’s best for the town.
“This is what’s best for the taxpayers, and I think we are going to move forward with this decision.”
“The decision was decided before we ever got in here,” said Brandon McGaha, of the NCPBA. “They went from having a job to losing their jobs in — How long did it take to vote— five seconds. They just had their lives turned upside down.” @WXII pic.twitter.com/qBArRQ8QJj
— WXII Lee Anne Denyer (@WXIILeeAnne) May 5, 2021
North Carolina Police Benevolent Association (NCPBA) representative Brandon McGaha said the decision to dissolve the police department was not just about funding. He told WXII 12:
“It was more of a political issue before it ever became a budgetary issue. 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.
“The decision was decided before we ever got in here. They went from having a job to losing their jobs in — how long did it take to vote? Five seconds? They just had their lives turned upside down, and it was turned upside down by small-town politics.”
McGaha also suggested to WXII 12 that there was an intentional effort to prevent the police department from excelling:
“This police department didn’t have a chance to be successful to the level that they wanted because they were doing everything they could to keep them from being successful. The decision was decided before we ever got in here.”
The town’s press release also acknowledged the embarrassing situation of police personnel prematurely learning about losing their jobs:
“The Town’s leadership team scheduled a meeting with all MPD staff prior to a press release at 5:00 p.m. on April 30, 2021 to announce that the Board of Commissioners will consider a contract for law enforcement services with the DCSO at the meeting on May 4, 2021.
“The Board felt strongly that MPD staff should be notified before the general public.
“Unfortunately, news of the contract became public earlier today and required a premature release of the press release.”
Mayor Marklin told FOX 46 that Mocksville’s police officers will have the opportunity to be law enforcement officers in Davie County as Sheriff JD Hartman has agreed to consider all qualified officers who meet the agency’s standards for open positions.
Mocksville to dissolve Police Dept., Davie County Sheriff’s Office to take over https://t.co/dNLrhgEcAz
— News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT (@wbtradio) May 6, 2021
Hartman was previously employed at MPD in 1997 for one year before being hired by the Davie County Sheriff’s Office, according to the agency’s webpage.
However, McGaha told FOX 46:
“There’s no reason to think they wouldn’t be great at the sheriff’s office, but the well has been poisoned by this council to the sheriff, and I don’t think there is any real chance the sheriff is going to hire them, and I hope other agencies do because they are going to get fine officers.”
It is not clear if the sheriff’s office will need to hire more staff to cover the workload previously handled by MPD.
However, the mayor assured FOX 46 that if the town feels the sheriff’s office isn’t meeting the town’s needs, there are parameters that would allow them to amend the contract or potentially bring back the police department.