There was no podium, and no microphone for the 30 Ridgetop residents who spoke during a public hearing before the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday, July 2, but their message was loud and clear.
“The people of Ridgetop want their police department,” Pam Stewart said. “It’s your responsibility to figure out a way to make this work.”
The public hearing, preceded the final vote by city leaders, which included a reduced department for police, making available one full-time officer - the police chief - and possibly one part-time officer.
In the final minutes of the meeting Tuesday, the city leaders were unanimous in their decision to provide nearly $130,000 for its police service for the upcoming year, but the outspoken residents pleaded at times, asking the panel to reconsider and return its police force to its full capacity.
Several residents at the public hearing said they would prefer a property tax increase over reducing the number of police officers within the department.
The department was disbanded in June following a special-called meeting by city leaders after they decided the cost of running the police department would be too great for the city’s budget.
At that meeting, the city closed the doors to the police department and alerted the officers their jobs would expire at the end of June.
The Ridgetop police station was re-opened within a week after the officers filed a temporary restraining order against the city in Robertson County Chancery Court, instructing the city to not interfere with police business.
The officers claimed the city met in secret to plan shutting down the police department.