Walnut Cove - As the Walnut Cove Board of Commissioners consider disbanding the city's police department, citizens and business owners who want to keep the police department have started organizing a campaign to keep them.
Kathy Dix, owner of "Just Plain Country," a general store in downtown Walnut Cove, has started a petition and has posted signs outside of her business that read, "We support Walnut Cove Police."
Dix told News 2 that "They have been such a help here in Walnut Cove. They are right down the street if I need them. In fact, last Tuesday, I needed them and they came running."
Her biggest fear she says is being held up in her store, saying, "I'm not prepared to take care of everybody. The police being that close, they are here."
This concern is echoed by Nellie Bobbitt, owner of Main Street Diner, who said, "They look after us, they park up the street a lot of times to be sure that I'm safe when I leave here. And, I'm not saying that the county doesn't do a good job but they have a lot of turf to cover."
At a commissioner meeting on April 3, they voted to allow the city manager to contact Stokes County Sheriff Mike Marshall about the possibility of disbanding the city's police department and having the Stokes County Sheriff's Department provide law enforcement.
Town commissioners as well as the Mayor have stated cost savings as the reason behind the idea to disband the police.
The Mayor said in a statement, "The town must find ways to ensure the future financial strength of the town."
The statement also said the idea had nothing to do with the performance of the cities police department, saying, "We are extremely proud of Chief Chad Williams and his officers and are appreciative of their dedication and professionalism. However, we are being forced to face the economic realities of managing the finances of a small town."
The city's commissioners are expected to continue discussion of disbanding the police department at their meeting on Tuesday.