A large crowd showed up for the Washington city council meeting Monday night after hearing rumors the police force might merge with the sheriffs department to save the city money.
City councilman Doug Mercer brought the idea to the Beaufort County Sheriffs Office a few weeks ago for discussion, but it was not on the agenda for council Monday night, even as as many people showed up anticipating discussion on the topic.
Washington mayor Archie Jennings says, "There's certainly protocol to say at the appropriate time. I don't think that he was outside of that. I think if the idea had any merit at all it would come to the council for a full discussion."
The Washington police department has more than forty employees, and many of them showed up to make sure they keep their jobs. Even chief Mick Reed was at the meeting. It is my hope and it is my job to try to keep us focused and our members working hard and I am sure that they will be."
Whether the idea is brought formally to the city council or not, chief Reed says it's a decision out of his hands. "My role is to simply provide the best security we can for our community and these decisions that are made at the elected level department heads I will just try to focus on what I get paid to do."
The mayor told WITN that if this makes it to a formal discussion for city council- the idea would take several months to approve or reject.