COMO, MS (abc24.com) - Como, Mississippi is broke. The small town in Panola County has been struggling for years, but the last few months have been especially tough.
The town has cut spending, but is still looking for ways to save money. One department that's seen its budget slashed is the Como police.
The last 4 years Chief Fred Boskey has led Como's law enforcement. He says everyone's pitching in to help get through the hard times. Como has always had a tiny police force. Recently the town had to cut manpower, but not hours.
The chief says everyone's working harder and they're getting by with help.
"Admittedly we are cut about as far as we can be cut and still function as a police department," Boskey said. "I consider Como since I've been here just a big family. Como's area wise is 1.5 miles by 1.5 miles. We have about 1270 citizens."
The police department has three full-time and four part-time officers. Staffing has changed the last few months.
"Where we would normally have two officers on patrol we've reduced it down to one. We've tried to watch our fuel consumption on our vehicles. Just common sense things that would actually help the town recoup money that may be short. It's kind of a community effort thing."
Despite cuts, Boskey promises Como will stay as safe as it's always been. Officers are getting help from the Panola County Sheriff.
"He supplements our patrol here and keeps in close communication with me," Boskey tells abc24.com.
"The last ten or fifteen years they've got upside down in financial trouble and they've had trouble getting out of that," says Monroe Pointer. He grew up in Como and still works in town.
"We're doing some things we hate we have to do. I think they're short term fixes and next year with the things the town's been working on, it will be a lot better."
"We hadn't had (the changes) initiated long enough to see any results yet," Boskey adds. "But they're forthcoming I'm sure. Hopefully things will turn around. I always try to stay optimistic and keep a smile on my face and make sure the citizens in our town are well taken care of."
We also spoke with Como's mayor. He was out of town, but says the Board of Aldermen will be cutting more from the budget in the coming months, although they haven't discussed specifics yet.