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The Shoshone Police Department, which patrolled the largest city in Lincoln County, had a “difficult time” covering shifts with its staff of officers, according to the city council.

The city of Shoshone voted last week to dissolve its police department, citing recent challenges in covering shifts among its officers.

The Shoshone City Council voted last Tuesday, Feb. 9, to eliminate the department and lay off its officers, effective Feb. 10.

In a statement announcing the decision, the city wrote that the police department had a “difficult time” over the past year keeping shifts fully covered, with officers already working extra hours.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision,” the city said in the statement. “The Council feels that it has done everything it can to continue to maintain the police department, but it is no longer sustainable.”

Going forward, the city will contract with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for policing. The sheriff’s office will assign four deputies to the city who will be responsible for handling service calls inside city limits and enforcing city code, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post last Thursday.

The contract will also give the city access to the county’s investigative and administrative resources, including a detective, Sheriff Rene King said on the office’s Facebook page. The sheriff’s office has been investigating all felonies within Shoshone city limits for the past several months and has investigated all narcotics cases within city limits for the past year and a half, King said.

“I cannot emphasize enough, the citizens of Shoshone will not lose any law enforcement protection, but probably will increase,” King wrote. “Your protection and safety is our number one concern.”

Shoshone Police Chief Austin Smith did not respond to a request for comment.

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com