KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The end is near for the Harley Davidson motorcycle plant in Kansas City north. Many workers there will be working their final shifts Thursday and Friday. Two of three shifts at the plant along Congress just south of I-435 will clock out for the final time. Around 180 workers total will say goodbye to a factory that has operated the past twenty years. The actual plant is not expected to completely close until next year. One shift will continue to make motorcycles, but they will begin the process of moving operations from Kansas City to York, Pennsylvania. Harley has a state-of-the art factory in Pennsylvania, and that is where they will soon make the three models of motorcycle they currently make in Kansas City. All 800 Kansas City employees are expected to lose their jobs while York will gain 450 new jobs at their factory. Workers have known this day was coming – Harley announced it planned to shut down the plant back in January. Harley said they are not selling as many bikes and they once did. Because of this, Harley is building a plant in Thailand to sell more bikes in Asia - especially India, where there is a strong love for motorcycles. https://fox4kc.com/2018/08/02/kansas-citys-harley-davidson-plant-begins-shutdown-process/
Interim Police Chief Roberta Sarnacki and three officers submitted resignations in a letter to Blandford officials on Monday, effective immediately.
“We refuse to put our lives on the line anymore for a town that seemingly cares so little about us,” read a statement signed by Sarnacki, the interim police chief, and the three officers. Immediately after resigning, the officers shut down the police station and said they were never coming back.
Around 8:53 pm on Sunday, the Blandford Police Department’ s Facebook page announced: “Attention Blandford residents: If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, please continue to call 911 as you normally would. Until further notice, please call the Russell State Police Barracks at 413-862-3312 if you need any other police services. The entire Blandford Police Department resigned this evening, effective immediately.”
According to The New York Times, Sarnacki alerted local officials on Sunday about how the job has become too dangerous for her and the town’s three part-time officers. The email cited failing brakes and inadequate air conditioning in the police cruisers, ill-fitting and expired bulletproof vests, and, of course, low wages that barely paid a living wage.
As many media outlets descended on the police station Tuesday, Ciara Speller, a morning reporter for WWLP-22 News, was one of those journalists who documented how the town of Blanford is now without a police department.
Speller captures a photo of the closed police station with one cruiser parked in front.
However, as news of the resignations disseminated through town, officials like Mr. Levakis told the NYT other forces had played a significant part. For example, town officials had been examining a possible merger of law enforcement services in Blandford with the neighboring town of Chester as a way to streamline costs.
The merger, Mr. Levakis said, had frightened and angered Blandford’s officers, who, he said, never before complained about their safety and or the police equipment.
“You’ve got to move with the future,” Mr. Levakis said. “We’re just trying to find better ways to use our money.”
Glancing at Blandford’s crime statistics for 2012, well, not much has happened in the town of 1,233 (at the 2010 census).
“Around the country, towns with shrinking tax bases and rising costs have been forced to make hard choices. In some cases, that has meant merging local police departments or cutting them altogether. Earlier this year, Brooksville, Fla., shuttered its 30-person police department and handed law enforcement duties over to the local sheriff. Other departments have disbanded after problems; Galesburg, Mich., for instance, closed its police department in January after firing the chief,” said the NYT.
“Small towns are having this discussion around maintaining the most basic functions of local government, police services being one of them,” said Josh Garcia, the acting town administrator for Blandford.
It seems as the NYT has discovered the next emerging trend: The Collapse of police departments in rural America.