Update: Lincoln County Sheriff talks about Shoshone Police Department being dissolved
The Shoshone Police Department has had a difficult time maintaining officer positions and keeping shifts fully covered
SHOSHONE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — UPDATE
Lincoln County Sheriff Rene King talked with KMVT about what the Shoshone Police Department being dissolved means for the county.
King tells KMVT the four employees of the SPD have been given applications for the sheriff’s office.
He also says the city will still have its four full-time officers in the city. But rather than Shoshone police officers, they’ll be Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies.
“Their services aren’t going to change,” King said. “They’re still going to have their four full-time officers that are stationed in the city of Shoshone. The only difference is there won’t be a chief of police. There will be the sheriff’s office running that division so to say of Lincoln County.”
King says he was at the meeting when it was decided to dissolve the department, and it wasn’t an easy decision by any means.
Wednesday night the City of Shoshone announced that the city council made the tough decision to dissolve its police department. According to the city attorney the city council has had many discussions over the years about its ability to feasibility maintain a police department. But with heavy hearts the council finally made the decision to pull the plug on the department, leaving some local residents shocked,
On the corner of Rail Street West and Apple there are several stores and shops, and many of the residents KMVT talked to on Thursday morning said they were still dealing with the realization that Shoshone no longer has a police department. .
“I’m shocked because I still figured they could work together and handle it,” said Judy Rienstar, Shoshone resident.
Ron Wyant who is one of the owners of Manhattan Cafe said the police department closing was all his customers were talking about Thursday morning.
“Earlier yeah, the coffee drinkers, they were shocked too,” Wyant said.
Shoshone City Attorney Jennifer Bergin said a couple of the reasons the city city council decided to dissolve the department was because the department was having a difficult time keeping shifts covered with a budget of slightly less than $400,000.
“Inevitably people are going to be out. There is just not enough money in the budget to keep more officers hired than what you need to keep every shift directly,” Bergin said.
She also said the department was also having a difficult time retaining officers in a small town, something local Tony Bozzuto said he was well aware of from what he was hearing and seeing.
“People would come in and train and get newbies, and train. They would be here for a short time and leave to go somewhere else where they could get more money,” said Tony Bozzuto, owner Bozzuto’s Furniture & Appliance
As of Feb. 10, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is contracted with the city of Shoshone to take over policing within the city limits, and they plan on hiring four new deputies.
“Officers that have all been laid off have been told they can apply with the sheriff’s department, and then the sheriff’s office will decide if they want to hire those people who are not,” Bergin said.
As shocking as the move was, most residents KMVT talked to said they feel their streets will be safe and are not too concerned.
“Hopefully the merge with the county will be good, and the coverage will be good, and everything will be basically seamless in there. That’s what I’m hoping for,” Bozzuto said.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is planning on having a press conference Friday at 2:30 pm in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse to discuss the upcoming changes and any concerns people may have.
The city of Shoshone voted Tuesday to dissolve the Shoshone Police Department and contract with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for policing services.
According to a news release posted to the City of Shoshone’s Facebook page, the city says, “The council feels that it has done everything it can to continue to maintain the police department.”
In the statement, the city explains in the last year the Shoshone Police Department has had a difficult time maintaining officer positions and keeping shifts fully covered. It is stated that the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will provide law enforcement services to the citizens of Shoshone moving forward.
KMVT will continue to follow this story as it develops.
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