Citizens Worry about Centralia Police
Mayor Jerry Parmeley said former police chief Sam Hartsell's firing has nothing to do with issues directly related to the department's activities, and when it comes to those minor violations, there's no wiggle room in the law.
"The speed limit is the speed limit. If you drive one mile an hour over the speed limit the officers have the right to pull you over and give you a warning or a ticket, whatever it is there discretion to give you," Parmeley said.
He said police officers are just doing their job.
L.T. Eastin and others said police are cooking up controversy.
"They're looking for any little old thing, dogs barking, stuff that don't amount to a darn," Eastin said.
The firing of Hartsell lead some residents to think the cops are corrupt.
"It is a false rumor," Parmeley said. "There is no corruption within the police department itself."
Residents said the police are too nit-picky.
"Giving a person a ticket because they've got mud on their license plate," Dick Bontatibus, Chubby's Bar and Grill owner, said. "Giving a person a ticket because they're going two miles an hour over the speed limit downtown."
"If you go one mile and hour over the speed limit the officers have the right to pull you over," Parmeley said.
Bontatibus said officers sit and wait by his bar on Friday nights to target customers.
"Within 5 or 10 minutes they stop them for DUIs, " Bontatibus said.
"We do patrol the streets that bar is on. Do our officers wait for them? To my knowledge, no," Parmeley said.
Despite the disagreement, Eastin said there's still problems with the police force.