ST AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. -- Less than 24 hours after a heated meeting at City Hall, St. Augustine Beach is still abuzz.
In a 3-2 vote, the City Commission decided to scale down its Police Department much to the anger of homeowners.
"They're cutting people. They're losing people who had been here quite awhile. It stinks," Robert Gardy said.
Gardy has lived at the beach for more than a decade. When his family needed help one night the local officers were there in a heartbeat.
"My mother in law, she fell and I had to get somebody and I called them and they were there before the ambulance," he continued.
Right now, there are 17 officers on the beach force. The new plan calls for only five cops, a chief, a sergeant, and an administrator. The rest of the law enforcement slack will be picked up by the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office which has 262 full time deputies.
The question is if it will that work? We hit the phones and pulled the data to see if it would.
We learned St. Augustine Beach's service area is 2.2 square miles, the average call for service per month in 2012 was 614 and the total average response time is just under 12 minutes.
"The people here are used to having a quick response from their police officers," Theresa Morgan said.
With such a small area, the Commission is confident of a fairly simple transition. The move will ultimately save the beach a little more than $720,000 a year, a savings city leaders feel is worth it, but something that will take more convincing for Gardy.
"They've done a beautiful job, so why change it?" he asked.
The St. Augustine Beach Commission formed a selection committee to choose its new police chief. They hope to find one in the next 90 days.