After months of uncertainty, a Gaston County community knows who will protect it. Cherryville City leaders decided Monday to keep their own police force.
The future of the force had been up in the air, since three officers were arrested in an FBI investigation in October.
Gaston County police started coming to the city to help because the city department was down officers. At the same time, the Cherryville City Council was considering turning the entire job over to the county to try and save money.
On Monday, council members said they have received the numbers from the county and right now they don't think the savings are there.
"I'm glad it's over the for the time being, and I hope the department can heal," said Cherryville City Council Member Rick Campbell after the announcement was made.
Campbell acknowledged Monday night the stress Cherryville police officers have been under after some of their own were wrapped up in an FBI investigation.
Monday the Cherryville City Council announced that the Cherryville City Police Department would move forward, to applause from a room full of residents.
The recent controversy did come up at the meeting Monday, but Mayor Pro Tem Brian Dalton said this decision came down to money. The city has been looking for ways to save and turning to the county for police coverage was one idea. He says the county has been doing a wonderful job. But right now, he says he doesn't think the savings would be there long term for the county to take everything over.
"By year three or four I believe we were about where we are right now. The savings were short-term," said Dalton.
Many of the residents who came out to the meeting Monday night said they feel safe with city police and don't feel a change needs to be made. Some said they were concerned about what a different decision could mean in terms of cost and an opportunity to restart the department in the future.
"I felt if the police department was disbanded, you could never start it again," said Billy Crews, a resident.
Katie Carpenter is another resident. She told Eyewitness News before the meeting that she would rather see the county police the area, or at least have more assurance that corruption won't creep back in to the city department.
"Keep a close eye on whoever they hire back in the city to be the police officers," said Carpenter.
"There's been a top-notch investigation done by the FBI. The officers that are still here we feel very confident in, without doubt," said Dalton.
Dalton says that the city will look at how many vacant positions will be filled so the county doesn't have to help so much.
Concerns were also raised Monday night about the city's police radio system. The city council says that updating that will have to be addressed as well.