Outraged residents in rural Oregon have formed amateur armed patrol groups to replace the budget-stricken police department.
The unusual move comes after Josephine County sheriff announced officials will now only respond to life-threatening situations after losing necessary government grants.
But county governors, fearful of anarchy, have condemned the organisation, urging citizens to hike their taxes instead.
The conflict arose after the national government stopped paying the county’s federal timber subsidies – reimbursment for working on the forest – and proposed a tax hike instead.
However, when residents opposed the bill the state-funded departments were forced to make radical changes.
With 70 per cent of the town made up of woodland, the grant was essential.
Prisoners being released from jail and crimes operations were limited to weekdays, 9am-3.30pm.
Finally, the Sheriff’s Office released a statement urging residents to move if they didn’t feel safe as a new policy to only respond to the most serious incidents was unveiled.
The statement read: ‘The Sheriff’s Office regretfully advises that if you know you are in a potentially volatile situation (for example, you are a protected person in a restraining order that you believe the respondent may violate), you may want to consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services.’