Bells cuts police force

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

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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  • by Debbie Location: sherman on Jul 27, 2007 at 08:40 AM
    Of course those officers quit. It was a slap in their face to drop their pay so low and yet still ask them to do a job where their lives could be on the line at any given second. The pay they were offered is only 25 cents an hour more than I make, and I am an office secretary that sits at a computer all day. I don't have to wear a gun for protection because I deal with dangerous people. And I don't work either in the heat of the day or during the night where I have to leave my spouse and children alone at night. The pay for law enforcement is low enough nationwide as it is, but to pay them so low that it compairs to the pay of an office secretary is ridiculous. I feel for you people in Bells. Better take a gun safety course and get alarm systems on your houses and big dogs for your backyards because that's just about all the protection you'll have without enough law enforcement officers there to take care of you.
  • by Anonymous Location: Grayson County on Jul 27, 2007 at 06:34 AM
    I really dont think that releasing police officers is the right solution. Bells is not that big of a town, but without authority there is no telling what people will do today. I believe the citizens in Bells need to step up and let the City Council know exactly how they feel.
  • by Concerned Citizen Location: Bells on Jul 27, 2007 at 06:01 AM
    I have lived in Bells my whole life and I know that Bells is growing by leaps and bounds. To think that Grayson Sheriffs office can cover all the area is plain crazy they are already overwhelmed by calls. Think about it if we only have two officers how many hours are in a week. If you add that to the days how can an two officers cover that many hours are they not supposed to have family time. Do you want officers coming to your home and doing an investigation when they are tired and overworked because they have no time off. Lets ask yourself a question. What if your child is missing or heavan forbid molested, or murdered? ...Come on people wake up! Support your police they will undoubtly take care of you in a moments notice. WILL YOU PUT YOUR LIFE ON THE LINE FOR THEM? I think the council needs to think about the safety of the city rather than ruining someones lively hood. Maybe channel 12 should do a Poll on this one let people openly voice their opinion.
  • by Withheld Location: Bells on Jul 26, 2007 at 08:47 PM
    Obviously someone thinks its election time in Bells. Get a CLUE, they were voted in for a reason.....No one is decimating our police department. The two officers quit, they were not fired. The Bells P.D. was given the ok to hire a part-time officer for 32 hrs a week. That's 32 hrs worth of coverage that we would not have had if the council did not approve that. What part of that, is not caring about the saftey of the citizens? I am not biases against the police; I come from a long line of law enforcement and have an extreme understanding and appreciaton for it. I was not able to attend the meeting, but I will not miss the next one b/c it sounds like there has been some exaggeration about the response time if GCSO had to respond, and other areas I will not touch on right now. I have done my research as a citizen as to what has been going on in Bells, and I hope others will learn to do the same so they too can see the truth. As I see it, our council WAS watching out for the saftey of our citizens. 32 hrs of coverage is better than nothing at all. Come on, we have had reserve officers working in the past and still do. Don't try stating it will be hard to find help for that amount of time, for that amount of money when it is, and has been working. Get the facts. Thanks to the council for caring about our citizens by keeping our great city of Bells a float.
  • by Anonymous Location: Bells on Jul 26, 2007 at 07:37 PM
    The last council tried to do the job they were elected to do. Unfortunately, the mayor at that time un-did any progress the council made. The gravy train has ended and it's time to go to work! Start earning your paycheck instead of collecting it!
  • by withheld Location: bells on Jul 26, 2007 at 07:23 PM
    like its a great loss boo hoo
  • by Withheld Location: Bells on Jul 26, 2007 at 04:42 PM
    To Anonymous in Denison, Classy refers to comments made in the meeting directed to the police officers during that city council meeting. I have not repeated those comments here nor has the media, but ask around. If you can find someone who was there, I'm sure they will remember. I have no problem with the majority of the council, but 2 of the ladies were extremely rude for no apparant reason. Regardless of my feelings on what was decided, there is no reason to verbal attack others. THATS why I will not be voting for those 2 particular ladies. I don't want people who think so little of others in control of decisions that affect all.
  • by x Location: x on Jul 26, 2007 at 04:38 PM
    borrow savoys cop he does nothing anyway
  • by Anonymous Location: Denison on Jul 26, 2007 at 01:36 PM
    I dont know about the rest of you. But I'm glad we finally got some people on the city council of Bells that will do the jobs they were elected to do! The city and the citizen of Bells WILL BE JUST FINE! The budget will get stronger as new businesses move into the area, and more officers can be added. It sounds like the PD got their feelings hurt because they didnt get what they wanted. Why would anyone NOT want to vote for people who do the jobs they were elected to do. Thats just a stupid comment. Yes, very classy ladies and gentlemen on the City Council of Bells. Ones that sound like they take their jobs very seriously. Grow up Boys!!
  • by Withheld Location: Bells on Jul 26, 2007 at 11:47 AM
    Sounds like some of the citizens of bells need to get up with the times, 2 officers quit were not fired, sabatoged or any other thing. wake up people do the math... no budget no police city....and when u spend more than u make...something is wrong More info can be found at City Council meetings try it... you may learn true stuff there
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