UNICOI, Tenn. (WJHL) — Town of Unicoi Mayor Kathy Bullen on Wednesday said a rumor regarding the defunding and dismantling of the town’s police department is unfounded.

In a letter to the community, Bullen revealed there have been rumors circulating through the town claiming the Town of Unicoi Police Department merged with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department as a single entity.

“Any statement, conversation or opinion of any member of the town or board does not represent the thoughts, feelings and facts surrounding UPD under my mayoral term,” Bullen wrote. “UPD continues to perform at a high level with professionalism and respect for the town and its citizens, and for that, we thank them.”

Bullen wrote that any rumor of the merging of the two departments was “completely and totally untrue” in her letter.

“This will not occur during my term as mayor,” the letter from Bullen reads. “The vast majority of citizens, business owners and patrons of the Town of Unicoi highly appreciate and respect the Town of Unicoi Police Department.”

Bullen continued by mentioning Chief Andy Slagle and “his commitment to [the Town of Unicoi,]” citing that Slagle left his home Sunday night to respond to a string of burglaries to which county deputies were unable to respond due to other calls at the opposite end of the county.

The release ended with the following:

“To reiterate, rumors involving the defunding of UPD are entirely false. Chief Slagle has done a fantastic job building this department from the ground up with admittedly limited resources. We, as the town, back UPD and will continue to provide Chief Slagle and his department with the necessary equipment to perform their law enforcement actions and keep the Town of Unicoi and its citizens, businesses and visitors safe.”

Kathy Bullen, Town of Unicoi Mayor