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Nov 26, 2012 10:50 PM by Eric Ross

Safety concerns surface following police department budget cuts

Palmer Lake Police Chief Kieth Moreland will be out of a job Dec. 6 following massive budget cuts effecting the police department.

Those living in the community are now left wondering if their safety will be put at risk.

Bill McDonald has felt a strong sense of security for the past 3 decades.

"We've always had great police coverage and great police protection," he said.

After all, McDonald lives right across the street from the police station.

"These guys know everybody in town and everybody watches out for each other."

It's a town with just over 2,400 people who enjoy living in a "family" oriented community.

The police beat is generally quiet but if something major were to happen, neighbors feel safe knowing help is nearby.

"I like having our own officers here that know the community, live in the community and know all the people by name," McDonald said.

The police department isn't disappearing just yet, but resources will be thinner with the elimination of Moreland's position.

"When they (management) sat me down and told me this was going to happen, I sort of was expecting it," Chief Moreland said.

All full-time officers have already been eliminated.

The police force now contains only 9 part-time employees.

However, there is talk they may need to reapply to keep their positions after the 1st of the year.

The police department says a lack of sales tax revenue is behind the cuts.

"The tax revenue from restaurants goes to support 2,500 people that live here now," Chief Moreland explained. "That's the same that it was when there were only 500 residents in this town."

Eliminating Moreland's position will save the town $50,000 a year.

While there are more questions than answers about the departments future, Chief Moreland says residents shouldn't worry just yet.

"As it stands right now, you will still have the Palmer Lake Police Department to call upon," Chief Moreland said. "There will be somebody on the road 24/7."

Chief Moreland says he's thankful for the 3 years he's been able to serve the community and will be looking at other opportunities in the criminal justice field.

There are no immediate plans to fill his vacancy.

 

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