By Alex Fees
UPLANDS PARK, Mo. (KSDK) - Monday night members of the Uplands Park Board of Trustees voted to eliminate the village's police department, and contract with nearby Velda City for police protection.
The measure goes into effect Saturday at midnight.
Board Chair Johnetta Williams, along with trustees Carmen McClendon-Roberts and Shirley Martin, approved the measure.
Williams says the police department makes up seven percent of the Uplands Park budget. Eliminating the department will get rid of eight paid positions, and contracting police services out will allow village trustees to save money and pay down the village's debt.
Uplands Park Police Chief Stephen Abbington said he's been in his position since August. He does not support the trustees' decision.
"What prompted this is they're saying they don't have the monies to pay the officers' salaries here," said Abbington. "But at the same time you still have to keep insurance to cover the officers that work for Velda City."
Abbington was asked about response times from Velda City.
"They do not border us," said Abbington. "They would have to come down Natural Bridge and go through Velda Village Hills or Beverly Hills. So that's another concern. If you take a call over here, you got to do lights and sirens and go through a lot of jurisdictions to get here."
Board trustee Henry Iwenofu did not vote on the measure, and he does not support it.
"We haven't paid the bills that need to be paid," said Iwenofu. "Adding additional contracts and not knowing where the source of income is to come from is something I'm not interested in getting the village involved in until we resolve that issue."
Through the Uplands Park city clerk's office, NewsChannel 5 tried to contact trustees Carmen McClendon-Roberts and Shirley Martin. They did not return a telephone call.
Chief Abbington says a public meeting will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Normandy Library to discuss the issue.