Future of Washington Police Department in jeopardy

WASHINGTON, GA (WFXG) - A controversial meeting that left Washington's Pope Center overflowing with folks on both sides of the issue.

"As a taxpayer, I pay approximately $4000 a year in taxes. What do I get from it?" asked one citizen.

The issue at hand: whether or not Washington should disband its police department and allow Wilkes County Sheriff's deputies to take over patrol.

"Our commitment was to provide the same services to the citizens at a cheaper price," said Mayor Ames Barnett.

He gave a presentation about the financial hole he says the city is in, the primary reason behind wanting to slash the police force

"It's all down to money, yup," Barnett said. "No other personal agendas or anything, it's all down to money."

The debate comes on the heels of two suspected murders in the city this past week. Police officials worry it could impact public safety.

"We're dealing with a smaller area, so we're able to get there quick," said Sgt. Philiph Perkins. "I think if it changed, the response time would definitely have to change."

But that's not sitting well with everyone.

"We need to not put the budget on the police department's back," said a citizen.

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