UPDATE: Fight to Keep Police Department Open

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UPDATE 9/26/2013 5:00 PM

A follow up to a story we brought you earlier this week.

The Jacksonville Police Department is set to close at the end of this month, but Chief Brad Larsen and his wife are not giving up hope.

Chief Larsen and his wife are working with the Trimble mayor to bring back the Trimble Police Department.

According to the chief's wife, Jessica Larsen, the Village Council of Jacksonville says there is no hope for the Jacksonville Department because they are $160,000 in the red.

To bring back the Trimble Department it will only take raising $5,000 and $30,000 to maintain it.

For Jacksonville that number is $35,000 minimum and $30,000 just for the rest of this year.

There will be a local fundraiser this October.

Thirteen local businesses have already signed up.

There's also a fundraiser on October 10 at the Athens Bob Evans.

To Donate: http://www.gofundme.com/4hqa4c
Another small town police department is being shut down.

Jacksonville's Police Department in Athens County is closing at the end of this month.

"Basically, in an emergency situation the sheriff's office will come and stop the emergency but primary law enforcement responsibility falls on the mayor," said Jacksonville Police Chief Brad Larsen.

Chief Larsen says he is the only paid officer on the force but does have five auxiliary officers. Without law enforcement presence, he is worried about the crime rate

"In the last couple years we have been able to get the crime rate down, to the point where it is almost non existent. At this point what is going to happen is, I'm sure without any law enforcement around or anything the crime rate will probably go back up," said Chief Larsen.

Chief Larsen says the response time will increase from 10-15 minutes to possibly up to 2-3 hours.

This change is adding more weight to the Athens County Sheriff's Office work load.

"I'm not pleased with their action but I understand because of the budget crunch. This is happening all over, not just Ohio but the United States. That smaller agencies are no longer able to accept the responsibilities of their agencies and they are turning it over to the sheriff's in the counties," said Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly.

Sheriff Kelly says he already covers 500 square miles and is short on deputies. He says, he is frustrated with the lack of funding

"If the Governor would quit balancing the budget on the backs of the working class people and victims and we had an Attorney General that was not reduplicating programs constantly and was concerned about law enforcement then maybe some of the money that is going to the state agencies would come down to the local levels where sheriff's can use that money," said Sheriff Kelly.

Chief Larsen says he wasn't notified about the closing until the 18th of September. He says there are a lot more questions that need to be asked. However, Sheriff Kelly says these small town police departments are closing all over the county and he is not surprised.

"I'm not surprised because I've seen this happening in other counties, so it wasn't a shock. I expected it to happen. I expect it to happen to more villages, in the county before this is over," said Sheriff Kelly.

The sheriff's office and the mayor will take over police duties in Jacksonville, October 1st.

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