The town decided to cut the police department's nine officers--keeping only the police chief on payroll---to save money. So since July 1, the Jackson Parish Sheriff's Office has responded to calls for police in Jonesboro.
Mayor Leslie Thompson says the arrangement has been great. The Sheriff's Office is stationed in Jonesboro so deputies respond in a timely manner, he says, and they even helped out with a car wreck a few days ago.
But the sheriff says if Jonesboro wants this help to continue, the town must pay up.
In a letter to Mayor Thompson, Sheriff Andy Brown says: "I am willing to continue to help the chief with his needs but I am not going to relieve you as mayor or the town council from its responsibility to provide police services for the town of Jonesboro."
Sheriff Brown went on to say that he won't deny any citizen help, but he thinks it was a bad idea to cut the department.
He adds that if the town doesn't reinstate funding for their own police officers, he'll start charging for man hours, equipment costs, fuel costs and other fees associated with assisting the town. Those fees also include providing paging services for the town's fire department--a job the former police department took on.
Over the phone, Mayor Thompson tells us he doesn't mind paying for the sheriff's help because whatever he pays them will still be cheaper than staffing a nine-member police force.