Washington City Council voted 4-3 to defund the police department at Thursday night’s meeting, with Mayor Ames Barnett breaking the 3-3 council member tie. Members of council and Mayor Barnett debated for numerous weeks about closing the department in an effort to cut costs to balance the city’s budget. The department closed Friday, leaving 14 employees without jobs.
Police department members resigned at the meeting. Mayor Barnett said some employees will be hired by the sheriff’s department, which will take over patrolling the streets of Washington along with troopers from Georgia State Patrol.
Residents against closing the department had held a rally and marched Thursday on the courthouse square.