On busy days, Coopertown Police Chief Tyler Haley says it takes a while to respond to calls for help, sometimes between 15 to 30 minutes.
“It can get kind of crazy especially if multiple calls come in at one time,” Haley said. “Doesn’t allow us to get to the citizens in a timely fashion.”
He’s one of three officers that make up Coopertown’s police department which serves more than 4,500 people.
“It’s hard to get to these calls when we only have one officer working,” Haley said.
He’s urging town leaders to provide funding for two more officers.
“The need for police is there,” he said.
Specifically, he says the need is due to new growth. Lowe’s just opened a new distribution center expected to create 400 to 600 new jobs.
“That’s gonna bring in more traffic,” Haley said. “That’s gonna bring in more people.”
Along with the new distribution center, new homes are being built. A subdivision will soon be under construction with 100 to 200 homes, Haley said.
But, Coopertown Mayor Glen Guyor says it’s not that simple.
“We can’t afford it,” Guyor said. “Essentially, we’re on a fixed income.”
It would cost an extra $92,000 a year for salaries for the extra officers, according to Haley. Guyor says state troopers and sheriff’s deputies can help respond to calls to fill in the gap.
“Between the three agencies, I feel right now, we have enough coverage,” Guyor said.
The town just increased property taxes by 17 percent but Guyor says the extra money will help fix roads.
“The roads are deteriorating so if we don’t address those now, we won’t have a road bed left,” Guyor said.
Haley says even if he hires someone part-time, he’ll take all the help he can get.
“It’s really, really sad to hear that some of the citizens don’t feel like they’re sometimes provided for,” the chief said.