STURGIS, Miss. (WCBI)- Four Sturgis Police cars sit vacant in the department’s lot. And it may be that way for some time. Last week, Sturgis’s board of Aldermen voted to remove Police Chief Will Hutuchinson from his position.
“During the executive session, all the re-appointments were made, except for the Chief of Police. He was not reappointed,” said Sturgis Mayor Walter Turner.
And his officers soon followed him.
“When we came out of executive session, at the close of the regular meeting, the remaining part-time police officers submitted their resignations. So we were left without any remaining police officers in the town of Sturgis,” said Mayor Turner.
The 3 officers turned in their badges, keys and equipment. The Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department is currently assisting the town until the board can find new officers and appoint a new chief. Several residents have already voiced their concerns with the major shake up.
“I’ve had a couple of phone calls already saying, how did you leave us without police protection? You’ve never been without protection. You call 911, which goes to the county dispatcher. The dispatcher sends the closest unit. If a Sturgis officer is on duty, he may be the closest unit. If not, it could be a sheriff’s deputy. If not, it could be highway patrol. So we were never without coverage,” said Mayor Turner.
Terral Cooper owns Popo’s BBQ and says he’s not worried about the town’s security.
“Sturgis is the kind of town, always self-sustained itself. At one time, it was only one Chief of Police here, which was Lewis Jones. He ran the whole town and I think we’ll be fine. It don’t take that much to run this town,” said Cooper.
Turner says he understands the town may feel nervous about the board’s recent decision, but knows they’ll work through it.
“We’ve covered as far as police protection. Now how we come out of this and what new system we put in place and order yet, we’re not sure of yet. We have to get the board to decide that,” said Mayor Turner.
The board will hold a special meeting next Thursday to decide what to do next.
We reached out to Hutchinson and his family. They family says they’re upset with the decision and that Hutchinson dedicated 11 years to protecting his town.