Orange Cove Police Chief Frank Steenport predicted this day would come. That isn't providing the rest of the department wtih any comfort.
Chief Steenport was placed on administrative leave late Monday. Both he and city staff said they could not comment on personel matters.
Orange Cove residents are accusing the city council of trying to abolish the police force outright. Since Former Mayor Victor Lopez returned to the city council three months ago, people who lived in Orange Cove in 1989 saw history repeating.
Lopez led the effort to disband the Orange Cove police department. It only re-formed three years ago after Lopez and some of his allies were briefly unseated.
At its peak, the Orange Cove police department had 16 sworn officers. Attrition and resignation letters will cut that number in half by early March.
More officers could be leaving soon. 90% of Orange Cove police have applications pending in other cities.
City Manager Sam Escobar says the city fully intends to hire more officers. He and the city council have repeatedly stated that they support the police department.
Mayor Gabriel Jimenez says Orange Cove is facing a budget deficit and may need to make cuts. He's in touch with officials in Sanger about possibly consolidating dispatch services.