Mayor of Colorado Town Where Police Force 'Quit' Sets the Record Straight
05/07/2016 AT 11:50 AM EDT
But Newberry never expected her quiet little burg would be the subject of international headlines, breathlessly hinting that Green Mountain Falls was on the verge of lawless anarchy.
But then that was before town Marshal Timothy Bradley and the rest of the police force abruptly quit, days before she started her new post.
"I could speculate until the cows come home about why he resigned," Newberry tells PEOPLE, insisting that she planned on renewing Bradley's employment contract when she took office. "I called to ask him, but he's never called me back." (Bradley did not respond to a request for comment.)
Reports that the town's three deputies walked off the job, however, is a bit of an overstatement, explains Newberry, 54. Without a marshal, the town's remaining police force – which consisted of three volunteer deputies – was disbanded for the simple reason that they had no supervisor.
"I've since heard from one of the reserve officers who called to say, 'We did not quit. I don't want anyone think I'm a quitter. We just couldn't work there because Tim wasn't there anymore,' " says Newberry.
Over the past week, the town has been the focus of countless articles in newspapers and websites "from Africa and India to Australia, " says the exasperated mayor, who adds: "It was an entire department of one that quit ... One guy quit. That happens in every business, but I don't think the world's media reports on it."
Since Bradley’s departure, neighboring law enforcement agencies have stepped in to patrol the area and answer 911 calls. The town's board of trustees, including Newberry, is currently in the process of looking for a new lawman to fill Bradley's boots.
"The one positive thing that’s come out of all these sensational stories is that we've had calls from all over the country from police officers interested in the position," says Newberry. "To have an applicant pool from across the nation for this position is just kind of amazing."