Foley, Minn., is retreating from its bold and controversial plan to replace sheriff’s deputies with private security guards, reports the Star Tribune. Under a proposed agreement mediated with the help of the state attorney general’s office, sheriff’s deputies from Benton County would continue to patrol in the town an extra 17 hours a day next year, but they would do it for about $18,000 less than the original asking price.
Foley officials, citing budget problems including cuts in state aid, had decided in October to hire private security patrols after they couldn’t reach an agreement with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office to reduce extra deputy patrol hours. Sheriff Brad Bennett had said the city’s proposed cutbacks meant there wouldn’t be enough coverage for the town of 2,600. The Foley City Council then voted to contract with a private firm to hit the streets starting in December. The move proved controversial and raised questions about safety and fairness in paying for protection.