PARMA -- "I just feel sorry for the community."
Kevin Szentmiklosi has been an officer with the Parma-Sandstone Police Department for 17 years -- right up until Tuesday.
"Parma Village and Parma Township decided to close the police department," he says.
The two entities voted to shutter what for 42 years served those two towns and Sandstone Township.
"We were kinda left in a lerch, so we had to do it," says Village President Jim Jenkins.
Sandstone, which provided the lions share of funding to the police department, opted out of the contract in August. Without that support, it quickly became clear there was little choice but to close and terminate the positions of five staffers at the department.
"There was no way we could've come up with an almost $200,000 budget to replace," Jenkins says, adding that revenue-sharing from the state for Parma has been cut more than 20 percent, adding insult to injury.
As for who will handle public safety for the towns, much of it will fall to the Jackson County Sheriffs Department and Michigan State Police.
Officials from the JCSD say there's no reason for residents to worry about their safety, though they do say it's a job they wish they didn't have to take.
"What they're gonna miss is the local touch of having a local officer walking the streets or grabbing a cup of coffee in the local restaurant," says Undersheriff Tom Finco. "They're gonna miss the local touch."
And plenty in the area say it's hard to put a price on that.