Lorenzo residents fuming over city's proposal to ax police depar

Lorenzo residents fuming over city's proposal to ax police department

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LORENZO, Texas -

The fuse was lit and the fireworks flew during Tuesday's city council meeting in Lorenzo.

Residents were fuming over the possibility of axing the community's police and relying on the Crosby County Sheriff for law enforcement.

Henry Benitez is the former police chief. He said Crosby Co. deputies cannot offer the protection currently provided by the town's own police department.

"You lose two officers, you lose your 24 hour/7 day a week, you lose code enforcement, traffic enforcement, you lose police presence, you lose police presence at our schools," Benitez said. 

During the meeting Sheriff Ethan Villanueva tried to ease concerns.

"I want a bigger police presence here," Villanueva said. "I want you guys to feel safe, I want you guys to know that when you call us, we're going to be here and we're going to be here as fast as we can."

He said a deputy would live in town but it was not enough to appease the crowd.

"Crosby County is 40 miles across by 40 miles across," said Allen Schoepf. "That's 1600 sq. miles that five miles have to cover and you're having one town having to rely on a deputy to be their actual law enforcement where Ralls and Crosbyton has law enforcement plus the deputies. So how are they going to, I just haven't ever understood how in their minds that was going to work out."

Shoepf said he wants city leaders to find another way to save money, or at least find a way to fund the department.

"I understand there's no money here but it doesn't seem as if they want to find a solution to bring money and revenue into the city, they'd rather just outsource it and live with the decay the town is under," he said. 

For Josh King, his primary concern is for the safety of his family.

"I've seen a county officer maybe three times in the last year-and-a-half in our city. So for them to say they can absorb everything in Lorenzo, it just doesn't seem possible," King said. "The sheriff said he could add one more deputy, what's one deputy going to do that our officers want."

We reached out to the mayor for comment, he said he would not do so until after a decision was made.

The next meeting is on February 11th. 

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