AFTON, Ok. — For more than 2 decades the town of Afton has been without a police department, but residents are working to change that.

Mike Nelson, City of Afton Resident, said, “Afton’s no different than any other small town in the area. Except most of the other small towns in our area have got anywhere from 2 officers to 5 officers We have no police department presence.”

Afton Resident Mike Nelson is a volunteer working to organize a police department in town.

Citizens are relying on the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement help.

Afton community members say in emergencies it can be difficult to wait for assistance when no one in town is available to give them immediate help.

Mike Nelson, City of Afton Resident, said, “This Sheriff’s office is short handed right now. I understand the Sheriff’s duties are to the county but what that’s doing is kind of leaving Afton open.”

The town approved the half cent sales tax last spring to fund the department.

So far, they have collected $14,000 of the roughly $115,000 they will need to operate the facility.

Although the sales tax is in place residents say they would like to speed up the process to get the department in places as soon as possible.

Rebecca Collins, Afton Treasurer, said, “Right now our town is struggling with safety issues we have the highway that is very busy everyday we have lots of traffic.”

The town will refurbish the old city hall building and hire a chief, two full time and several reserve officers.

Nelson says Afton is in need of community support to help them reach their financial goal.

“Its going to let businesses come in that our going to feel secure because we’ve got a law enforcement presence here..the people are going to know that their homes are secure. but it’s all going to be working together as a community,” said Nelson.

If you are interested in helping the Afton community reach their goal to fund a police department call Afton at (918) 257-4304