COATS, N.C. — The Coats Police Department had only four officers. Two of them left to take other jobs, which means there are only two officers are left.
"They're going to have to put in some overtime and be willing to do that for the town," Mayor Johnny Shull said.
Shull said he is looking for ways to recruit new officers. It has been one of the biggest hurdles of his early term, especially considering the starting salary for an officer is less than $22,000 a year -- one of the lowest in the state.
"It's going to create some challenges trying to keep the town covered 24/7, but we do have assurances that we are going to be able to do that, so the public shouldn't worry that safety will still be a primary issue here in Coats."
Shull has worked out deals with other departments to help out until the jobs are filled.
"I think it's going to be kind of hard of them. I think it's really going to be a lot of pressure on them," resident Ashley Hill said.
City leaders plan to meet Saturday morning to discuss the situation and try and come up with creative ways to offer higher salaries.
Salary is often an issue for police moving from one department to another. According to a 2002 survey from Southern States Police Benevolent Association, this is a list of the minimum salaries of police officers in some areas: