Law enforcement officers are protecting two north Idaho communities for free—not because they're volunteers but because the cities don't have the funds to pay them.
This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that the Shoshone County cities of Mullan and Smelterville haven't been able to pay for law enforcement service—Mullan hasn't paid since 2008.
"A couple of cities say they're broke and can no longer pay for services," Shoshone County Sheriff Mitch Alexander said earlier this week, according to the Press.
Alexander told the Wallace Chamber of Commerce that he recently received a letter from Smelterville, saying they would no longer be paying for law enforcement. Their contribution to the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office for protection was $18,000 for 2012, which had dropped from $25,500 in 2011.
"I told the mayor of Smelterville, 'It puts me in a bind,'" said Alexander. "Morally and ethically, we have to take care of the citizens. I'm not going to let anybody get trampled on."
The mayors of Mullan and Smelterville didn't return the Press' request for a comment.