LYNCHBURG, Ohio -- The village of Lynchburg disbanded its entire police force Friday.
According to the Lynchburg Police Department's Facebook page, all officers and command staff were laid off as of 4 p.m. at the direction of the village's new mayor, Terry Burden. Friday was his first day in office. He could not be reached for comment Friday night.
About 1,500 people live in Lynchburg, located in Clinton and Highland counties about 50 miles northeast of Cincinnati.
The Lynchburg Police Department had 14 people on staff, most of them volunteers. Two years ago, the city fired its police staff, citing financial circumstances. A few weeks later, a small force of mostly volunteers stepped in to fill the gap.
"Here we go again," Councilman Christopher Green said. "Every time we lose the police, crime goes up, vandalism goes up, drug crime goes up. It takes too long for the sheriff’s department to get here."
Green also said he wasn't made aware of Friday's layoffs in advance.
"Maybe the new mayor has a plan. If he does, he hasn’t shared it with me, but I know we are low to no funds left in the police fund," Green said.
The Lynchburg Police Department was operating with an annual budget of roughly $60,000.
The Highland County Sheriff's Office will handle law enforcement in Lynchburg for now. Like Green, some other residents said they're worried about how long it can take for a deputy to arrive.
"I got my concealed carry so I can protect my own family, but I am concerned with the other people in town," said Christina Gill. She added she's lived in Lynchburg for 41 years but thought about leaving.
An emergency village council meeting is scheduled for next week, but it may take place sooner.