Lott City Council votes to disband police department
LOTT, Texas (KWTX) - Lott City Mayor, Sue Tacker confirmed to KWTX Tuesday, that the City Council voted to disband its police force Monday night. The vote was three to two, according to a Councilwoman.
Tacker declined a formal interview but says the decision was strictly budgetary and that she and the rest of council were doing whatever they could to keep the city from going under.
The Lott Police Department is currently only made up of a Police Chief and one patrolman.
Chief Michael Hamilton hired attorney David Schleicher, out of Waco, to represent him on the issue.
“The Mayor [of Lott] seems to have a problem with the [Lott] Chief [of Police], its not clear exactly what,” Schleicher explained.
He says before the council meeting Monday, Hamilton sent a to the District Attorney raising concerns about Mayor Tacker.
“Some legal issues like open records act, interfering with a ticket and some concerns about whether he was being treated worse because of his race or color,” Schleicher says.
He also says they believe the letter to the DA led to Monday’s decision to let go of all members of the Police Department.
“We have concerns about the whistle blower law and compliance with that,” he said.
In the past, Lott was known as a speed trap city. Schleicher says a lot of money from speeding tickets went away when the city cut the number of officers.
“They cut the number of officers, but complain that they’re not bringing in enough money,” he explained.
A three page document was presented to council during Monday’s meeting, with data on profits and deficits from the last three years that Tacker says were pulled from the city budget.
It shows The Police Department generated $24,061 last year while its expenses cost the city $425,771. The document projects in 2022, the department would lose the city another $256,222 in expenses surpassing what it brings in.
“It doesn’t appear to me that they’re wanting to use any sales tax revenue to pay for the police which seems strange,” Schleicher said.
The document goes on to show by eliminating the police department, the city would get out of the red and make a profit this year and next year.
“It is an interesting concept that the police have to turn a profit to be allowed to exist,” Schleicher says.
He says Hamilton will continue to report to work until someone tells him not to.
The City Secretary told KWTX that council will decide on a final day during a budget meeting next Monday.
At that time, Tacker says the Falls County Sheriff’s office will take over policing in the city.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Lopez says he has not been contacted by the city for that request, but that his office is always willing to assist the area and will continue to do so.
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