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Budget Cuts Blamed For Lack Of Overnight Police Patrols In Verden

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Budget cuts being blamed for a lack of police patrols in Verden. Budget cuts being blamed for a lack of police patrols in Verden.
VERDEN, Oklahoma -

Budget cuts are being blamed for a lack of police patrols in Verden.

On Tuesday, the city's Mayor told the chief to leave his car at work, preventing the only officer in town from responding to overnight calls.

Chief Eric Buehre believes the issue came down to gas. He lives a couple of miles out of town in Anadarko.

But now, the chief questions the price tag the mayor is putting on the public's safety.

“I do this job to protect the citizens and to save the people i can and prevent things from happening,” said Chief Buehre.

Chief Buehre spends most of his days patrolling the quiet town of Verden, whose population hovers around 600.

“Every once in a while we get a domestic violence calls a lot of it is the simple dog at large call. Stuff that little towns have,” said Chief Buehre

But now, there are big changes for this small town police department.

“The mayor walked up to me and said you need to leave your vehicle here and the city clerk will give you a ride home,” he said.

That was Tuesday night.

And since then Chief Buehre, the only full-time officer, has not been able to respond to calls after 10 p.m.

“I asked him, ‘well who's covering the town?' And he said, ‘well the county will cover',” said Verden's police chief.

But according to the mutual aid agreement between Verden and the Grady County Sheriff's Department, deputies can only respond to felonies in progress.

Chief Buehre admits since starting as chief in February he's only responded to about a dozen late night calls.

“I understand budget cuts, I really do, but from public safety point of view I don't know if it's really the best to do that,” he said.

Many of the residents are outraged over the change, but some side with Mayor Ron Heavin.

“When they come to work they should be in their own car and when they leave they should be in their own car. And police cars should be here for the police business,” said Wanda Randle, a Verden resident.

We reached out to Mayor Heavin several times for comment, but our messages were never returned.

Late Thursday afternoon, Chief Buehre learned Mayor Heavin approved him to take his vehicle home for the night. But he says he's leaving his car at work until he has the approval in writing.

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