TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) The Town of Timmonsville is now without a police department.
At 8 p.m. Friday night, the Timmonsville Police Department was relieved of their duties as a part of massive budget cuts.
During a special meeting Friday night, the council also voted in 4-3 decision to cut the town administrator Mark Fountain and town treasurer Dora Lee.
The agenda included a public input item regarding the decision to cut the police department, but council voted to remove it from the agenda and adjourn before any public comment could be made. The decision did not stop Timmonsville residents from voicing their displeasure, as a shouting match between residents and some members of town council and administration ensued.
"I want to know why we're losing our police department!" one man shouted as the meeting ended. "Somebody is going to robbed, somebody is going to raped, somebody is going to get killed and we haven't got police? You're crazy!"
Mayor Darrick Jackson said the town is facing serious budget shortfalls, and as a result, the decision to cut the police department and the two administration positions was an easy one.
"You don't work someone if you now you can't pay them," Jackson said. "That's the issue, we don't have the funds."
Florence County Sheriff Ken Boone said Friday Florence County Sheriff's Deputies will take over protecting the town of Timmonsville. The protection started with a 15th Circuit Law Enforcement Network checkpoint in Timmonsville Town limits on Friday night. About 30 officers from several different jurisdictions performed safety checkpoints on motorists.
Boone said after Friday night, Sheriff's deputies will sporadically patrol Timmonsville, but due to budget constraints no officers can be devoted to serving the to the town around the clock. Boone also said they will send more Sheriff's Deputies to address specific crime needs if they arise.
Timmonsville Town Councilman James Pigate said Friday he appreciates the help the Florence County Sheriff's, but worries residents will have to wait longer for help from law enforcement as a result.
"I think Florence County [Sheriff's Deputies] will do a good job," Pigate said. "But I don't think response times will be there. They have to cover 500 some-odd miles, and only have a handful of officers to do it."
At Friday night's LEN Checkpoint, Captain Brett Camp of the Florence County Sheriff's Department said they are committed to keeping Timmonsville safe.
"We're unable to add additional law enforcement at this time," Camp said. "But we're going to do everything we can to protect the citizens."