On December 1, Youngtown, Ariz., joined the ranks of the many U.S. cities and towns that have fired their local police forces. In recent years, it has become somewhat of a trend across the country for municipalities to disband police departments, most often due to financial restrictions. 24/7 Wall St. has identified six cities and towns that have completely dissolved their local law enforcement groups.
Using information from the National Fraternal Order of Police and conversations with a number of police departments, 24/7 found nearly 50 cities and towns that either considered dismantling or have already dismantled their police forces in the past four years. 24/7 also received help from Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office — a department that has taken over law enforcement responsibilities for 16 police forces in the country. The initial list was cut down to include only the largest municipalities and the most recent cases of police force termination.
A number of reasons contribute to a local government dismissing its police department. Some cities, such as Pewaukee, Wis., face controversies revolving around questionable police actions. Others, such as Pontiac, Mich., have exceptionally high crime rates, giving city officials additional incentive to take a different approach to law enforcement. However, the primary reason for laying off an entire police force is cost cutting. Every municipality on 24/7’s list has disbanded its local police force in order to, at least in part, save money. Once the local police have been relieved of duty, police work has been taken over by the county sheriff’s offices in every case. The economic recession has made matters much worse for police forces. According to a Justice Department report from October of this year, law enforcement is facing its first overall job decline in 25 years.
This is 24/7 Wall St.’s list of cities that have fired their police forces.