Three Smithfield police detectives have been cleared to hunt white-tailed deer that are eating neighborhood plants.
Last year, officers killed 25 deer in the woods near the manicured lawns of South Smithfield. The deer are said to eat plants and flowers such as hostas, azaleas and acuba.
One resident, Jim Wilson, says the detectives should be fighting
criminals not flower-eating deer.
State biologist Joe Folta says there isn't a state law barring police from hunting, but Folta says he had recommended that bowhunters or licensed sharpshooters be used.
Police Chief Steve Gillikin says the operation costs less than $3,000, compared to $100 per kill for professional hunters.
He says the meat goes to needy families, though officers are allowed to keep one each.