MELBOURNE VILLAGE, Fla. – All six members of the Melbourne Village police force resigned this week, leaving the town without an effective agency starting Friday, officials said.
The town of Melbourne Village said Thursday in a news release the officers submitted their resignations on Monday, with most of them effective on Friday.
It’s not known why six officers resigned on the same day, but resignation letters obtained by News 6 show officers cited “lack of support of our town government,” the organization taking “a political stance over the care of its officers,” and a “toxic” environment cultivated by commissioners as reasons behind officers leaving.
“These resignations will effectively end the present ability of the Melbourne Village Police Department to provide law enforcement and police protection services within the town,” the news release stated.
The town said, however, there will be no lapse in coverage because the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office will offer “comprehensive” services with the town’s municipal boundaries.
“In fact, for several years BCSO has been covering many shifts entirely,” the town said.
According to the release, Melbourne Village will soon consider a proposed agreement for the sheriff’s office services to continue.
“The proposed agreement, if approved, will give the town the flexibility to eventually reform the Melbourne Village Police Department, to continue to the contract with BCSO, or to receive services from BCSO through participation in the Brevard County Law Enforcement Municipal Service Taxing Unit,” the town said.
The sheriff’s office covers other small towns in Brevard County that don’t have their own police departments like Palm Shores, Malabar and Grant.
The town said residents and businesses can “rest assured” that police services will continue at all times.
Sandra Sterling, whose mother was aided by a Melbourne Village police officer after suffering a fall last year, reacted to the news.
“I was a little upset at first because the police were very kind,” Sterling said.
Other neighbors told News 6 they think the officers are leaving because they want more money.
Those neighbors said the discussion of officers being replaced by deputies will be taken up Thursday night during a special town commission meeting.
“We will not be answering any additional questions at this time,” the town’s news release said.
[READ THE RESIGNATION LETTERS BELOW]