Cedar Grove Police Department Disbands

By: Josh Gauntt Email
By: Josh Gauntt Email

Time ticked away this morning for the Cedar Grove Police Department, and when the clock struck 8, the department went under the control of the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

This means sheriff's deputies will be patrolling the streets of the former town of Cedar Grove from now on.

"Bottom line, we're here to provide professional law enforcement," Frank McKeithen, Bay County Sheriff, said.

The decision was made at Tuesday's town commission meeting when commissioners voted unanimously to adopt its dissolution plan. That plan had an immediate effect on the police department.

"Just heartbroken. We really expected to have a little more time to prepare for what was going to happen," Joseph McCullough, a former Cedar Grove police officer, said.

The move is leaving Cedar Grove's police chief, its officers and dispatchers without jobs. Losing your job is already tough enough, but trying to find a job in today's economy is even tougher.

Sheriff Frank McKeithen says he's considering the possibility of creating new deputy positions. Early this morning, McKeithen with help from other sheriff's office personnel was taking inventory at the cedar grove police department.

"Certainly we have mixed emotions about it. We're here because we're going to protect the citizens and we can understand some of the feelings the officers have that do not have a job," McKeithen said.

McKeithen says the sheriff's office will consider the former Cedar Grove police officers.

"If they are qualified and if we have positions available they certainly will be considered but as you know our standards are different and they will all just have to go through the process," McKeithen said.

After Tuesday's vote, the town officially became a part of unincorporated Bay County. Town commissioners will now act as trustees until the county takes full control.

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