We’ve heard a lot the past few months about police leaders in major cities stepping down, but one Colorado town took things a step further — the entire department resigned.
The police department in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, only had four employees, according to CNN affiliates: a marshal and three deputies. They haven’t spoken out publicly about what made them leave their positions in the small city of about 700 full-time residents.
“The town’s talking,” CNN affiliate KOAA reported, “but the few who know why the marshal suddenly left, so far, are not speaking up.”
The lights were out in the police station, CNN affiliate KXRM reported. Patrol cars remained empty and parked, covered with snow from a recent storm, according to KOAA. No one answered when CNN called several phone numbers tied to the department on Sunday. And the former marshal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mayor Jane Newberry, who just took office last week in the town that’s about 15 miles northwest of Colorado Springs, told CNN she’s not sure what made the police marshal step down. The three deputies had to follow suit, she said, because they’re volunteers and can only work when there’s someone at the helm.
“In an election year, there’s always some people who choose to stay and some people who choose to go, and I think that happens at every level of government,” Newberry told KOAA .
Just because there aren’t currently police working for the city doesn’t mean there aren’t law enforcement officers protecting the town, or others who residents can call for help in Green Mountain Falls, she said.
“I’ve stressed many times that the town is perfectly safe,” she said. “One of the advantages of a small town — we have less than 700 full-time residents — is neighbors look out for each other.”
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office already handled dispatch and provided backup for the town, spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby told CNN. Now, they’ll play a greater role.
“Patrols will be stepped up based on need,” she said. “If they need extra patrol, we would be glad to help out.”
The Teller County Sheriff’s Office will also provide assistance, Newberry said, in addition to the Colorado State Patrol.
This isn’t the first time the town has been left without police. The marshal also stepped down in 2013 during a restructuring, Newberry said, and wasn’t rehired until four months later.
And this time around, she said, it shouldn’t be hard to fill the marshal’s shoes.
“We have already received applications for the job of marshal even though the position has not been posted,” she said. “There are people who want to do it.”