Decline in coal industry felt on multiple levels

By: Michelle Heron Email
By: Michelle Heron Email

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) Folks in one Eastern Kentucky community continue to react after learning their county sheriff’s department is being cut in half.

As funds continue to dry up, county leaders are being forced to find ways to pinch pennies.

One of those ways is by temporarily eliminating the Perry County Police Department.

The department, made up of two officers, was created about a year ago and is responsible for patrolling Leatherwood, Eagles Landing and Perry County parks.

“The speeding of traffic, we’ve had a lot of vandalism in the rest rooms and the pool and different things like that,” Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble said.

Berry Roberts is a farmer who drives an hour each way to sell her produce at a farmer’s market at the Perry County Park.

“I kind of hate the idea of not having the police patrolling here, but I can understand with the economy the way it is and everything,” Roberts said.

Officials say the cuts are another result of the declining coal industry and Roberts expects it to get worse.

“Majority of the people are depending on the coal,” Roberts said, “It’s different from how it was last year already, the economy is down so bad, people just can’t afford to buy what they need,” she added.

A time where folks on many levels continue to struggle to move forward.

The judge executive hopes to be able to bring the county police department back in October.

Until then, the city police department will continue to patrol the Perry County Park.

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