‘Just never know;’ Local community resident voices concerns about police department suspension

SOUTH VIENNA, Clark County — When people call for help in a small Clark County community, officers likely won’t come.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Local community suspends police department, turns to Sheriff’s Office starting Jan. 1

That’s because the Village of South Vienna is suspending its police department.

News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis shows us the plans in place to keep people safe there.

For the foreseeable future, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies will respond to emergency calls in South Vienna.

“It’s a very quiet farm community. Like they don’t even have a grocery store anymore,” South Vienna resident Dawn Shirley said.

Mayor Toni Keller told News Center 7 that the village has two officers and a temporary acting chief.

The village doesn’t have enough coverage, so its council voted to suspend the department.

In a statement, in part, Keller said:

“The Village has had difficulty attracting and retaining police officers to work the shifts required to consistently maintain the health and safety of the residents of South Vienna.”

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Keller said for some time now, the village has contracted with the Sheriff’s Office to have a deputy on duty for 40 hours a week.

Dawn Shirley has lived in South Vienna for nearly a year and a half, and even though she feels pretty safe in the village, she has some concerns.

“What my main concern is, is just how long it would take somebody to get out here, if there’s something really serious happening. How long would it take them to get here from Springfield or wherever they’re coming from London, wherever,” Shirley said.

In another part of Keller’s statement, she said the police department will be:

“Comprised of a sole member, the Village Marshall (aka the Chief of Police) who will work closely with the Clark County Sheriff to ensure the safety of the residents of the Village of South Vienna.”

“I’ve never had a problem, I can probably sleep with my door open and unlocked. But you just never know,” Shirley said.

The suspension is effective on January 1st.

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