ALTO, Texas--Folks here are bracing for a crime wave after the city put its police force on furlough.
"Everybody's talking about 'bolt your doors, buy a gun,' " said Monty Collins, Alto's mayor, who was against the measure.
But Alto wasn't going to make payroll in the coming months. So the City Council made the call, and on June 15 the police chief and his four officers secured the evidence room, changed the passwords on their computers and locked the department's doors for six months--longer if local finances don't improve by then.
When people talk about "essential services" from government, we should bear in mind that protecting people from crime is essential service number one for state and local government. That is one of the two reasons we have government, the other being protection from outside invaders, essential service number one for the federal government.