ISLETON (CBS13) — Citizens in the small Delta town of Isleton are edgy after learning their police department has closed up shop because the city is unable to pay its required worker’s compensation insurance.
“At this point in time, we were not able to cover the back indebtedness,” City Manager Dave Larsen.
Larsen explains they had fallen behind in recent months paying insurance company State Fund, and the company became fed up, cancelling the policy altogether.
Larsen said the city was about $20,000 behind in payments. He’s now searching feverishly for another company, but in the meantime the department’s two officers and half dozen volunteers have given all responsibility to the sheriff’s department for Isleton’s 800 or so residents.
“We are not bringing in any additional staff,” Sheriff Scott Jones said. “I do not want to create any additional burden on the sheriff’s department.”
The sheriff’s department will only respond to emergency calls, Jones said.
“We’re not going to be responding to the routine types of calls that they’ve been accustomed to and certainly deserve to have a response to,” he said.
The situation is leaving Isleton residents uneasy – not only about their safety but their future.
“We’re broke you know,” one woman said. “Either the county has got to take over or give it up and let it go.”
But the county may not be here for long. Larsen is confident Isleton police will be back next week.
“We’ll get there,” he said. “We’re looking at it as a very short temporary problem.”
The city manager is relatively sure he’ll get a new insurance policy by next week, but if that doesn’t happen they say there is no contingency plan.
Sheriff Jones is vowing that he will not allow Isleton to go without emergency services.
The police issue is just one of several facing the city. Larsen says Isleton is about $600,000 in debt.
Isleton made news last year when it approved plans to convert an abandoned housing development into a medical marijuana farm to be operated by a group called Delta Allied Grower.
The agreement promised a reported $25,000 monthly payments to the city and new security equipment for the police department, but the project was dropped after pressure from the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office. It also prompted Sacramento County grand jury investigation, which issued a report critical of city leaders in July.