City of Alto working to hire a police department

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - "I think everyone's aware that there's no police department," said Dairy Queen General Manager, Crystal Shaw.

The crime logs show it, from break-ins to botched bank robberies. After the city furloughed the five member Alto Police Department in June, crime never took a break.

"We are a town that's full of young people, you know, and there's nothing for them to do here, except get in trouble," said Alto resident, Miranda Hamilton.

Friday night, after six months, an about face. City leaders are pouring over a stack of 40 applications for Chief of Police.

In a special meeting of the city council, the hiring process officially started. Alto plans have a new chief by December 8th, which is great news for residents like Miranda Hamilton.

"I'm happy about it. I want them back. I was scared to death when they said, you know, that they were going to be gone six months," said Hamilton

It's still unclear how many officers will be hired, but for Hamilton, any police presence brings peace of mind.

"At nighttime, you know, I would feel better if they were more around," said Hamilton.

In an emergency, we're told it takes as long as 15 minutes for Cherokee County Sheriff's Deputies to drive from Rusk. An overnight smash and grab in August leaves workers at Dairy Queen worried about safety.

"Any business needs a police department, where if you have problems, you can call them. If you're being robbed, you can notify them," said Dairy Queen General Manager Crystal Shaw.

Knowing help will soon be just down the street is the answer Shaw and others in Alto have been searching for.

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