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Bethel Springs Still Without Police

By Meghan Pinkley
By mpinkley@wbbjtv.com

It has been one month since the mayor in Bethel Springs suspended her entire two-man police department, and as things went so smoothly, some wondered if the officers were needed at all.

Suspending Bethel Spring's only two police officers, have caused more controversy than Mayor Kay Cox ever expected.

"The whole town has got to pull together and get some kind of peace around here," said Mayor Cox.

According to the mayor, the officers will be off the job for another month. Police Chief Pewee Sowell was suspended for illegally dismissing a ticket for a driver. Officer Bandi Burney was placed on paid leave following an assault complaint.

Bethel Springs has gone a month without its own police protection, and some city officials said they hoped it stayed that way.

"In my opinion, I don't think we need a police department. I think we're close enough to the justice center that the deputies can come up here and help," added Mayor Cox.

"We have assured the residents of Bethel Springs, the mayor, and anyone who has asked, that we are there for them. We'll answer calls just as we always have," said McNairy County Sheriff, Guy Buck.

Most residents, said they felt just as safe as they did a month ago. "This little town really doesn't need a policeman 24 hours a day," said Iley Sisk.

Sheriff Buck said he had not noticed an increase in Bethel Springs' call volume to dispatch since they lost their police officers.

"Many other communities throughout McNairy County that do not have police departments are the same size as Bethel Springs," said Sheriff Buck.

Mayor Cox thought the money used for the police department could be used for things like fixing their roads and water rates.

The suspension of the two officers and if a police department is really needed in Bethel Springs would be discussed at the next month's city council meeting.