The St. Louis suburb of Wellston, Missouri, no longer has a police department and some are blaming a city councilwoman’s personal mission to protect her self-confessed drug-dealing son as the reason.
On Monday, all 23 officers on the force discovered that they had lost their jobs, the locks on the police station had been changed and they were forced to turn in their guns and badges, Fox 2 St. Louis reported.
Tensions have been mounting between the town’s police department and Councilwoman Janet Dixon after police raided the home of her son Terrance Dixon in late 2013, according to LEO News.
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Shortly after the raid, three of the police officers involved, including the officer who captured Dixon on tape confessing to dealing drugs out of his home, were fired by the city council, LEO News reported.
The firings were reversed. Soon after, police were called to a domestic violence situation where Terrance Dixon was again arrested and the officer who made the arrest was, again, fired. The vote to disband the police department came Monday evening, after an arrest that morning of Councilwoman Dixon on suspicion of possessing a defaced firearm, according to LEO News.
The Wellston City Council voted 5-2 in a closed session to completely disband the police department. Instead, they would bring in officers from the neighboring Vinita Park to police their neighborhood. Officially, according to StlToday.com, the move was meant to cut spending in the cash-strapped city.
“With limited resources, I think it is so important for our cities to at least consider collaborating and sharing more resources,” Wellston Mayor Nate Griffin told reporters.
Wellston Police Chief G.T. Walker had a much different take on why the department was disbanded. He claims that it was a direct result of “dirty politics” that the department was disbanded, claiming that Dixon herself led the charge to disband the department after the arrests of her son and herself.
One of the other Councilwomen, Linda Garner, strongly opposed the move to disband the department, telling reporters that she was angry that the vote seemed to be made in extreme haste and without opening discussion with the public.
According to this report in Fox 2, Former Police Chief G.T. Walker was offered a job in the new department, but he declined to take the job, saying he “couldn’t take the job in good conscience” after the other officers were let go.
Each of the officers will be “eligible to apply for jobs” this week in the new department. There is no official word as to how many job openings will be available for new police officers.
Disbanding an entire police department because a councilwoman and her son cannot seem to obey the law may seem extreme, but in Obama’s America where police have been villainized, it wouldn’t be all that shocking.
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