GALLAWAY, TN (abc24.com) – Residents of the small town of Gallaway, Tennessee may soon find themselves with no police protection. Rumors are swirling that the Gallaway Police Department may be shut down, again.
It’s not for sure that Gallaway is disbanding its police department, because nobody from the city would talk with abc24.com. What is known is that the former police chief was dismissed and the Fayette County Sheriff is already providing some coverage to the area.
But, if the city is getting rid of its cops, they have a strange way of going about it. The July 11 issue of the Fayette Falcon features an ad soliciting for a new police chief for the City of Gallaway.
Even so, news of a possible "cop-out" was met by some with a shrug.
“Well if they shut it down, they’d be doing a good thing,” said Gallaway resident Tomeika Lewis.
Not everybody in Gallaway seems to be upset about the prospect of losing their police department.
“Maybe Fayette County can come back in and patrol the place,” Lewis said.
That’s exactly what happened in 2010, the first time the Gallaway PD was disbanded.
“Law enforcement function fell to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office,” said Inspector Ray Garcia of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, “I would say for six to seven months.”
An attempt was made to ask Gallaway City Manager Tammy Hightower if the department was being shut down. Abc24.com was told she was unavailable.
There was also no response from acting mayor James Rogers, who did not return phone messages.
That left ‘this’ hanging:
“That is the kind of regular rumor we get here in Fayette County,” said Garcia, “that Gallaway is going to shut the police department down.”
In fact, Hightower called Sheriff Bobby Riles.
“The sheriff was contacted by the city manager,” Garcia told abc24.com, “with talks of possibly disbanding the police department.”
She also inquired about contracting for protection, which is not necessary.
“The sheriff’s office is obligated to provide law enforcement coverage everywhere in Fayette County,” Garcia said.
That was good enough for Gallaway residents in 2010.
“They were always on point,” said Lewis, “they did their job.”
And it might be good enough again.
“Yes, I’d be comfortable with them,” Lewis told abc24.com, “but not with Gallaway.”
While addressing persistent rumors that Gallaway might dissolve its police department, Sheriff Riles said, “Slowly but surely, it looks like Gallaway is getting out of the police business.”