Lake Hamillton council votes to keep local police department

Despite a consultant's recommendation to disband the police department and turn over law enforcement coverage to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the Lake Hamilton Town Council voted unanimously to keep it.

In May, the State's Attorney's Office released a 87-page report outlining mishandled cases.

Jim Sewell, a law enforcement expert hired by the town for $5,000, came up with four options regarding police service but ultimately suggested turning over law enforcement to the Polk Sheriff's Office.

In a 5-0 decision, council members voted to extend town law enforcement services for one fiscal year even though many members seemed concerned.

"Can we really afford to keep our police department whether it's going to benefit us or not to bring the sheriff here," Council member Cora Roberson questioned.

Many Lake Hamilton residents were happy with the council's decision. Others were not.

"We paid almost $5,000 for an outside source. Then we say, 'forget what the outside source has recommended to us.' I feel that you as town council members are misusing our money," Ernest Wormley said.

Right now the police department is handling patrol operations. The sheriff's office will continue investigating all major crimes.