Residents of Vernon have voted for a second time to eliminate the town’s police force.
The original vote to de-fund the Vernon Police Department came as a surprise at the town’s annual meeting this past March.
Local residents reaffirmed that decision at a special meeting Monday night that drew what some said was the biggest turnout in the town’s history.
Voters agreed to contract instead with the Windham County Sheriff’s Department. They accepted a proposal made by Sheriff Keith Clark for round-the-clock police coverage at significant savings to the town.
Vernon Select Board Chairwoman Patty O’Donnell said the vote reflects the town’s worries about the future. Vernon will lose nearly half its tax revenues after the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant stops generating power at the end of 2014.
“People are looking at trying to do business in a different way because we can’t afford to do what we’ve always been doing. They want to have the services, they want to make sure that the community is safe, but they want to save money wherever they can and I think Sheriff Clark’s proposal just looked so good because it saves so much money yet we didn’t have to give up the police department,” O’Donnell said.
The Vernon Police Department will cease its operations on July 1.