Youngtown dismantles police department; MCSO takes over public safety

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YOUNGTOWN, Ariz. -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is now officially in charge of the safety of Youngtown residents.

The cash-strapped town disbanded its police force in an effort to save money. The move leaves seven officers without jobs.

Town officials said they have tried everything to keep the department up and running, but voters turned down a property tax that had been proposed to fund the department. At that point, the town scaled back the department.

Without that property tax money, estimated at more than $520,000, the Town Council said it had no other choice but to shut down the 50-year-old department and rely on MCSO for its public-safety needs.

The decision was made at Thursday night's Town Council meeting.

According to the revised agenda, the proposed contract with MCSO will run through June 30, 2015 at a cost of more than $910,000 per fiscal year.

The same MCSO patrols that cover Sun City will now cover Youngtown, as well. MCSO told 3TV it officially took over for the Youngtown Police Department at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

As for the police officers who are now out of work, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said there are no opening for deputies in his department right now, but he expects some openings for detention officers in about two months.

The closure of the Youngtown Police Department is not as sudden as it might sound. Three years ago, a consultant said Youngtown could not afford to run its own department

Youngtown, which is home to some 6,000 people, is northwest of Phoenix. The town is near the Agua Fria River between Peoria, Sun City and El Mirage.