New mayor elected, entire police force resigns - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

New mayor elected, entire police force resigns

By CJ Cassidy - bio | email

IRON MOUNTAIN LAKE, MO (KFVS) - After Tuesday's election the the police officers of Iron Mountain Lake in St. Francois County slapped down their badges and quit.

The former Chief of Police Michale Kemp says he and his officers would not work for a "bunch of bandits."  He says "the bandits ran the police out of town."

But the mayor-elect says he chased the "Gestapo out to save his town."

"We now have no law enforcement here," said current Mayor Jodi Niccum.

He says former Chief Kemp and his two other officers walked out Wednesday.

That's after Gene Henson won the vote for Mayor against Niccum.

"They felt they would all be targeted and they did not want to risk their careers," Niccum said.

Niccum claims Henson's supporters don't respect the law and pulled down some stop signs.

He also claims the mayor-elect insulted the police during his campaign.

Henson admits that he did.

In fact, Henson goes so far as to compare the former Iron Mountain Lake Police to the Secret Police of Nazi Germany.

"A Gestapo thing. Just ran over you," Henson said.

When asked how he feels about the entire police department walking out, he says: "They would have been walked out Monday if they hadn't."

He claims the officers harassed innocent people.

"I plan on having a police officer that's working on drugs more than they do on traffic," he said.

That's good news to some folks in town, like the ones who put up a sign that reads: "Thank God New Board. Hitler Kemp is gone. Common Since Now Is In."

But others like Rita Gebhardt worry their town could end up with bigger problems than ever before.

"Officer Kemp was the first professional we've had here who was willing to risk life and limb to clean up this community," she said.

Gene Henson takes over the office of mayor on Monday.  He says he will appoint a new police chief at that time.

Until then, any emergency calls will be handled by the St. Francois County Sheriff's Office.

©2009 KFVS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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