Georgia city votes to eliminate police department

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VARNELL, Ga. - A northwest Georgia city in has voted to disband is police department.

Media outlets report that Varnell Mayor Anthony Hulsey reinstated Police Chief Lyle Grant on Tuesday morning. However, in a special meeting later that day, the city council voted 3-1 to dissolve the police department "effective immediately."

This leaves Grant and 10 officers in limbo.

The elimination comes after police say former city council member Sheldon Fowler assaulted police officers. As a result, Grant was put on paid leave for the way he handled the investigation.

Council members say they intend for the Whitfield County Sheriff's Department to handle police duties in the city. Council member Jan Pourquoi says Varnell residents will save $250,000 in tax dollars without a police department.

City Attorney Terry Miller says he'll work to determine whether the move is legal.

The city incorporates 2.5 square miles and has a population of 1,7951, based on a 2016 U.S. Census estimate.

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