Bells cuts police force

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BELLS, Tex. -- Two officers are all that remain on the Bells Police force. City leaders recently voted to remove one of the positions, leaving some wondering if their city will be safe.

Bells police Chief Thomas carter sums it up, "It turned into filling the vacancy to deleting two positions."

Carter says he was shocked at the news that his department had been shrunk down to two officers for residents. Only he and another officer remain.

"I was surprised because they never told me that they were going to delete the positions. I thought we were going to fill the vacancy to keep us up to staff for the budget."

But city officials say that budget was strained.

"We basically can't afford it, at this point its just not fitting in our budget so we have to redo the budget and look at things differently." said Bells mayor Pat Wilson.

City leaders held a special city council meeting on Monday and decided to downsize the department.

The department had recently lost two officers who decided to pursue different career opportunities.

City officials thought eliminating those positions would save them money, so they decided they cut the force until they can rework the budget for 2007.

"We are growing and eventually we will have to have more officers than we have now."

Bells city officials have asked the Grayson County Sheriff's Office to help Bells PD patrol the area around the city, but they say they need to fix the problem as soon as possible.

"Grayson County is a large county so we'll offer what we can. We're going to try to move the schedules around to try and cover the best we can with the minimum coverage of the officers," said Sheriff’s officials.

But it’s not just Bells suffering from officer shortages.

In the past year, both Sherman and the Bryan County Sheriff's Office have dealt with a lack of officers, so chief carter knows finding help won't be easy.

"We’re looking…that’s about all I can say right now."

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