Police Force Future Uncertain in Paint Rock

Northeast Alabama
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PAINT ROCK, Ala. (WHNT) - These are contentious times in Paint Rock.

During a rowdy, and sometimes loud city council meeting, council members discussed the possible disbanding of the police force.

It’s not a big police force. There is Chief Billy Wilson and two officers. All three of them are part-time employees.

Not a big force. They do what they can, but council members say the department may be too expensive.

"We have had an audit or a review over our books and our auditor said it was not economically feasible for us to have a police department,” said Council member Betty Putnam.

But Chief Wilson, and many of the locals, say the mayor’s plan has nothing to do with money.  They say it has everything to do with the mayor’s son.  At Tuesday’s meeting, Chief Wilson didn’t hold back confronting Mayor Nevel on her ground.

"There were never any problems between me and you Mayor until your son got arrested."

Joseph Nevel stands at the center of this storm in Paint Rock.

Paint Rock police arrested Mayor Nevels’ son Joseph in January for allegedly contributing to the delinquency of a minor, indecent exposure, and theft.

Joseph’s troubles didn’t end with that brush with law enforcement.

On February 4, he was arrested again when Chief Wilson says Joseph threatened to kill an officer.

Many residents in attendance said the small town of about 185 people needs law enforcement and are scared the council will disband the force.

"Drugs, more drugs, people filtering in here drinking beer driving around the neighborhoods,” said Christy Phelps

Before voting on a proposal to disband the police force, Paint Rock Town Council members want to look at the cost of maintaining their court system.  Then they will consider getting rid of the police department.

Mayor Nevel turned down an opportunity to speak with WHNT NEWS 19 about the allegations from Chief Wilson.

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