Timpson Council Seeks Reduction in Police Force, Community Petition Disagrees

February 10, 2015 - The Timpson City Council has been considering a reduction in its police force for several months now and over the course of several meetings. Budgetary concerns by some council members has been a contributing factor in the debate which has left many citizens and businesses in the community with the desire of their voices to be heard on this issue by the council.

Tony Smith, owner of The Foxxhole House restaurant, has taken it upon himself to petition the community for their choice regarding the Timpson Police Department. As a member of the community in Timpson, Smith has a firsthand knowledge of the affect a police department can have on crime in a community.

"I'm speaking from a victim's perspective and from a business owner's perspective. They broke into my house late at night and the police were there and thank God I had cameras in my house and that's why we were able to apprehend the culprit that broke in."

Smith said there can be times when employees can feel threatened in a business setting by customers or people who are not necessarily on their best behavior and the police are needed, "We call the police and they're on it, they're there. We rely on them to protect and to serve us and it's a dangerous job that I just wouldn't have myself. I take my hat off and kudos to those who do decide to protect and serve us. To cut off our 24-hour service would be a detriment to our city, I mean we're going backwards instead of forwards."

Community members who have been in contact with Smith have been shocked at the council's attempt to reduce the police force. He says the city is not broke and he feels there are reasons the reduction is being sought besides budgetary purposes, "It seems to me like you have a select few on that city council that have personal vendettas against the police department for whatever reason, you hear things," said Smith. "We have people on the city council that have no idea how to balance a budget and I just think that we need some responsible people that are on the city council to make some of those decisions for the city."

When Smith established The Foxxhole House in Timpson, he did so with the foreknowledge Timpson has a 24-hour police force to serve the community, "It would be detrimental to do so and not to have that kind of safety for not just the employees, but for the community."

Smith has the intention of speaking with each of the council members and hearing them out, "I do plan on seeking out the council members individually and pleading what I am saying to you now, but they have not always been acceptable to contact. I'm going to make it my business to contact them."

The relationship between the police department and the community is very good according to Smith and he doesn't want to see that change, "They have got a good police department there, they don't see race when they stop somebody," said Smith. "They have good interaction with the community. I have traveled the world and they have a good department. Kent [Graham] is a great chief there and it would seem sad to break that chemistry up there because they really do a good job. Everybody is not going to agree with them, because they have to enforce the law."

Petitions are available to anyone wishing to participate in the petition at the Foxxhole House restaurant, located at 912 North 2nd Street. Another option is to contact Smith by calling (936) 254-2800 and he can send someone with a petition to your location.