FULLERTON (CBS/AP) — The Fullerton City Council Tuesday rejected a proposal to consider disbanding its police force.
The council voted 3-2 not to ask the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who would take over police duties, for a preliminary study on the idea. The plan had been promoted as a cost-saving measure since the 144-officer department has a budget of $37 million a year.READ MORE: San Bernardino Investigators Say Loma Linda Sexual Predator May Have More Underage Victims That Have Not Yet Come Forward
However, many felt the discussion centered on the fatal beating of homeless man Kelly Thomas.
Three officers — Manuel Anthony Ramos, Joe Wolfe and Jay Cicinelli — also received letters of intent to terminate in May as they face charges including second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter for Thomas’ death.
At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, hundreds of residents protested the possible closure of the police department.
Residents said it’s not about money or the Thomas case. It’s about public safety.READ MORE: Drone Video: Great White Sharks Off California's Coast Are More Common Than You Think
“Once you make that cut, there’s no going back. No going back,” said a resident.
“Tell our Fullerton PD that they matter to us,” said a woman.
“Sometimes saving a buck isn’t necessarily in the best interest of our community in outsourcing our local police department,” said one man.
Among those opposed was Kelly Thomas’ father, Ron.
Thomas told reporters he’s seen police reforms since the death of his son.MORE NEWS: 'Just Not Fair': Gascón Drops Bid For Death Penalty In Killing Of 10-Year-Old Anthony Avalos
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