Tensions rise in Joaquin as residents discuss need of police force
JOAQUIN, TX (KSLA) - A group of Joaquin, Texas residents met at a public hearing to discuss whether the town should develop its own police force.
What began as an emotionally charged meeting about the idea of creating a police department quickly devolved into a very tense situation at Joaquin City Hall.
Since only 5 people signed up to talk at the public hearing the entire event lasted less than 15 minutes.
Local resident Floyd Blackman insists that Joaquin, Texas needs a police force.
"We need some law enforcement in this dad-gum little town we got; very badly."
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office covers the area, along with Constable Roy Cheatwood, who says he feels singled out for blame.
He also bristled at the notion his time to speak had run out at this public hearing.
"I want to speak. I'm going to speak. They have (unintelligible) me, ridiculed me for two weeks. And let me finish. I'm not through." And Cheatwood was allowed to finish his remarks.
Mayor Pat Gray and Councilwoman Cathy Atkinson told us that just to start up a police department would cost 150-thousand dollars.
"As of right now we just can't afford it. The city does not have the money," said Atkinson.
Atkinson and the mayor explained there's no money in savings, they barely make a budget and said there's no funding source that could support the police force.
While Mayor Gray said Joaquin will not be creating a police department this budget year, she left the idea open for next year.
Gray concluded that they hope to put it in next year's budget, while also applying for government grants to help with funding, as well.
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