Alto PD shuts down for at least six months

Chief Charles Barron
Chief Charles Barron

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - The five Alto police officers share a symbolic last meal together as a force. Budget cuts are shutting down the department indefinitely.

Their last day began with chatting over coffee at the yellow jacket cafe. Across the cafe, resident Herman Martin is worried.

"We {are} afraid crime is going to skyrocket. We already have enough crime in Alto with police," said Martin.

The inevitable couldn't be delayed any longer... So it was back to city hall.

"This morning we just came in and got everything secured locked up and ready to go home," said Chief Charles Barron.

Finally, Chief Charles Barron signed off for the entire department.

Jeremy Jackson and his fellow officers filed out.  It's day one of layoff that will last at least 6 months.

"I was looking for a job when I found this one. I'll find another one down the road," said Jackson.

The now furloughed Alto Police officers had some advice for people. Look out for each other, check on your neighbors, and defend yourself, your property and your home if necessary.

"Everybody has a right to protect themselves and their property and that's what I recommend them do," said Jackson.

A trigger-happy Alto is part of what scares neighbors about not having a police force.

"A lot of citizens we've been talking to say they're dusting off their guns to try to protect themselves. So can you imagine what a lawless town would be like?" said Martin.

It's not free-range for criminals.  The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office is picking up patrols in Alto.

"They're going to do the best they can with the restraints they have... It's not going to be like it was. They can't be here all the time and available," said Barron.

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