COEBURN, Va. - Fewer blue lights will be flashing in Coeburn, Virginia -- several officers have turned in their badges.
The town appointed Scott Brooks as the new Chief of Police Wednesday morning; just 15 minutes later, there were already two officers resigning.
In a small town with little more than 2,000 residents, there's some big talk lately. "I think most of it is about the police department and some changes going on," said resident David McConnell.
Those changes: at least seven officers on the Coeburn Police Department have turned in their badges along with resignation letters. "They resigned effective immediately and they have all turned in all of their gear," said Loretta Mays, town manager.
Mays says the interim chief of police, one investigator, four auxiliary officers, as well as the volunteer chaplain for the Coeburn Police Department have all resigned. It all happened on the heels of the appointment of Scott Brooks as the new chief of police.
Many residents, like McConnell, are asking one question: "What was the reason that they resigned?" That seems to be the big unanswered question.
News 5 called the interim chief of police Cossie Hale to find out why exactly he resigned. While we were able to get a hold of him, he did not have any comment on his resignation.
But Mays says no reason was given at all -- all of the officers simply resigned and walked out. "Right now we have four officers and we are just doubling back, working overtime, and covering the town as we always would have. It's just a little more difficult on the officers," added Mays.
News 5 learned both state police and the Wise County Sheriff's Office will help if there is an emergency.
But some residents worry Coeburn can't afford a loss like this. "We've had a lot of things happen right here inside the limits and we need our law enforcement officers," said resident Nancy Fleming.
Brooks is at police academy training right now and is currently employed with the Wise County Sheriff's Office. Work to fill open positions in Coeburn will happen as soon as Brooks starts as chief of police.
News 5 also learned the Coeburn Police Department is budgeted for seven officers including the chief, as well as seven auxiliary positions.
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