Officer.com Online Exclusive

Small Town Texas Police Department Dismantled

BANDERA, Texas --

 

The news traveled slowly for a small town.

Effective Oct. 1, Bandera will only have one working police officer.

"This was a budget decision," Mayor Pro-Tem Maggie Schumacher said.

It was a budget decision made last Thursday by Bandera City Council, during executive session.

The council voted to move funds now used to pay the salaries of the police chief, lieutenant and a patrolman.

The money will instead be used to hire a city administrator and build the city's infrastructure, such as "Rebuilding our sidewalks, our sewer system," Schumacher said.

Bandera Police Chief Jim Eigner said the move would hurt residents the most.

"It's unfortunate that our citizens have to put up with that," Eigner said.

Many residents, who did not -- and will not -- get a say in the matter, told KSAT Monday afternoon, they don't believe it's the right move.

"I would rather police take care of the town," Larry Wood said.

Still, Eigner said the move has more to do with small town politics than the city budget.

"Maggie Schumacher has an agenda and a personal dislike for me," Eigner said.

"I think that's a petty response on his part. We have had disagreements, but this is very separate from the budget," Schumacher said.

The move would leave the city of Bandera with one working police officer who, according to the city's crime report, would have his hands full.

In just the last 60 days, Bandera officers have made five felony arrests and 27 misdemeanor arrests for offenses ranging from drunken driving arrest to domestic violence. Six of those cases are still under investigation.

In regards to the city's crime, Schumacher said, "I think things will be fine".

Schumacher said the city has contacted the Bandera County Sheriff's Office and they will be serving as law enforcement once the budget takes effect and that during special events, reserve officers will be brought in.

Eigner said when the council first voted, he considered quietly walking away.

"I went home after that meeting and I told my wife ... 'You know, I'm relieved,'" Eigner said.

He said he decided to fight the move -- not for him, but for his officers.

"This is how they support their families," Eigner said.

Eigner said he has contacted the Attorney General's office.

Residents said they intend to petition city council to keep the police force intact.

Bandera Police Department Dismantled

 

Copyright 2011 by KSAT.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Loading