Garden City, MO – The mayor and city council of Garden City shut down their local police department on Wednesday, and ordered Garden City Police Chief Thomas Alber to lay off the entire police force.
“At about 10:00 this morning, Chief Alber was notified the City of Garden City was to ‘lay off’ 100% of the Police Department staff effective immediately," the police department posted on its official Facebook page on Wednesday morning.
"No explanation was given nor plans to staff the police department beyond the Chief,” the message read.
“No further guidance was given for pending criminal cases or coverage of the city when the Chief is not on duty,” it ended.
Garden City has a population of approximately 1,625 residents, and its police department was served by seven sworn officers and another five civilian volunteers, KSHB reported.
It is located in southeast Cass County, about 50 miles south of Kansas City.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office will be stepping into the gap left by the shuttering of the Garden City Police Department, KSHB reported.
Officials at the sheriff’s department told KSHB that they didn’t receive any warning about the change.
“We were caught off guard,” Cass County Sheriff’s Captain Mitch Phillips said. “Myself and another captain were together when we got a message about the Facebook post. Next thing, we were getting a call from the sheriff [Jeff Weber] asking us what we knew.”
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office already responded to emergency calls in Garden City, and will continue to manage Garden City’s 911 calls in its dispatch center and patrol the area as usual.
“We’ve always been the dispatch center for them,” Capt. Phillips told KSHB.
He said the county has always responded to emergency calls from Garden City when no local police officer was available.
“We don’t have someone in Garden City 24/7, but many times when they didn’t have someone on duty we usually respond to emergency calls down there anyway,” Capt. Phillips explained.
He said the Cass County Sheriff’s Office could increase patrols in Garden City if it was needed.
“The only real difference will be if our nearest deputy is in Harrisonville,” the captain said. “It might be a 10- or 15-minute emergency response time.”
Capt. Phillips stressed that plans were subject to change as his department had only just learned about the layoff of the Garden City PD officers, KSHB reported.