Budget cuts leave Asotin with only one on-duty police officer

Budget cuts are forcing the city of Asotin to reduce its police force to a single officer after the first of the year.

Voters in November turned down a levy lid lift proposal, forcing the city to reign in its spending plans for law enforcement. The move allows the city to keep chief Monte Renzelman on duty, but for only 40 hours a week. A full-time employee and a part-time reserve officer are being laid off.

The Asotin County Sheriff’s Office will respond to emergency calls during off hours. However, there is currently no formal agreement in place for calls on nights and weekends after county officials denied an offer by the city. The Sheriff’s Office is only responsible for responding to violent crimes in progress, such as felony assaults.

Also, should an emergency medical services levy fail in February, Asotin would be forced to eliminate its fire chief. (Lewiston Tribune)