MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — Controversy out of Mexico Beach on Tuesday, as a heated decision has been made to dissolve the city’s police department.
Many residents attended the meeting where the decision was made, which gives Bay County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction over the area.
Now, they’re reacting to the change.
“I don’t want to lose that personal connection that we have with our local police officers,” said Hilary Davidson, one of those residents.
Her husband, Maitland Davidson, agrees.
“I think that we could’ve come up with something better than just getting rid of the police department,” he said.
Mexico Beach Mayor, Al Cathey, says he thinks it will be a good thing for the city in the long-term.
“It was an upgrade,” said Cathey. “I thought moving to the Sheriff’s department would be a benefit to the community.”
So did two commissioners, making the vote three to two in favor of dissolving the department.
“I just personally think that they need to reevaluate their position,” said Annette Coffield, another disappointed resident. “Financially how it will benefit us in the long run? Those questions were never answered today.”
Cathey says it wasn’t about the money.
“I wasn’t price shopping or window shopping,” said Cathey. “I was looking to give our town the best service for the best value.”
City Administrator Andy Anderson says the plan is estimated to save the city around $250 thousand in the long-run.
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said in a statement, “we look forward to serving the citizens of Mexico Beach and will work to ensure a smooth transition.”