ODESSA, Mo. -- Does the City of Odessa, Mo. still have a police department? City officials either ignored or said they couldn't answer the question Wednesday night.
Odessa officials held a closed-door meeting at the library Tuesday and said they couldn't discuss the subject of the discussion. Shortly after the meeting, the tires on all five of the city's police cars were slashed and two police officers announced their resignation.
Earlier Tuesday, Mayor Adam Coach announced Police Chief Scott Newhouse had been re-instated after a criminal investigation yielded insufficient evidence to file charges.
“These people are our community, these officers, we know them all, they know us, they know my kids,” resident Melissa Bigler said.
“They put themselves in danger everyday to make sure that we are protected they would take a bullet for anyone of us, including the city officials,” resident Tanya Beeks said.
Wednesday a Lafayette County Sheriff’s deputy was spotted going into the Odessa Police Department. Lafayette County's Sheriff couldn't be reached for comment, but if the police department were to disband, services would likely be contracted out to the sheriff's office.
Police officers directed all questions about the status of the police department to City Hall. We went to City Hall and a Wednesday budget meeting of Odessa Alderman at the library, but on both occasions City Administrator Mickey Ary refused to answer any questions about the police department.
“If you are going to disband the police department, I’m an EMT, I work with these guys on a daily basis. If you are going to get rid of them and I have to wait 25 minutes for a sheriff to show up and take care of my people that’s with me, how am I supposed to do my job?" Odessa EMT Jason Bara said.
There have been efforts by the Mid-Missouri Regional Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 16 to create a police union in Odessa, something many people say city leaders and Chief Newhouse have fought for months.
“Our police department does right, we stand by our officers and our community and we will do what’s necessary. If we have to say, 'Step down,' we will force it and we will get our officers back,” Bigler said.
A police roster inside the police department indicated after the resignation, Odessa would be left with six full time officers if they remain intact.
By the end of the day Wednesday, two patrol cars tires had been repaired.