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FIRST ON 3: Storms promotes Benston to Chief Deputy

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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Interim Bladen County Sheriff Earl Storms told us today that Prentis Benston is now his chief deputy. That could be a problem for the Democratic nominee for Sheriff this fall.

The US Office of Special Counsel investigated Benston to see if he worked with any federal funds, which would be a violation the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity by anyone who works with federal funds. It ruled he did not, so he was cleared to run. But as the Sheriff's top administrator, it's reasonable to believe Benston would now be in a position to administer that federal money.

As citizens and taxpayers, we have exercised our right and asked the Office of Special Counsel's Hatch Act unit to look into Benston's new job and how it affects his run for Sheriff.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Enough is enough

All of the banter about the Bladen County Sheriff's Office has been going on for way too long. Sheriff Storms (and you can call him "interim" if you want, but he's still the man in charge) had his reasons for doing what he did. Trust me, just continue to watch the news, as everyone here obviously does, and it will all unfold right in front of you.

Yes, we often depend on the media to set the story straight, but people also need to understand that out of a 10 or 15 minute interview, only a handful of those quotes are used. That means, regardless of how "thorough" of a job a reporter tries to do, we only get part of the story -- and more often than not, it is one sided.

Prentis has been in the ballgame long enough to know NOT to put himself in a position that will cause him to have to withdraw from the sheriff's race. He's worked too long and too hard to give up now. Have you ever stopped to think that just because his job title changed that he didn't necessarily take on the exact same responsibilities that were previously held by Phillip Little? The men and women of that department work in their areas of expertise, regardless of what title is on their doors.

So whether you are a Prentis supporter or a Billy supporter, the fact of the matter is that Earl Storms is the sheriff at this time, and will continue to be until the new sheriff takes office in December. It's time that everyone let him do the job he was appointed to do, regardless of whether you like the decisions he makes.

Time For Some Changing Lets Look At The Facts We Know:

Well let us look at the facts here people! Mr. Storms was sworn in, he fired 5 deputy’s without reason or cause. He told two count them two different stories to the media, I don’t know about you all but I like my sheriff be it elected or appointed to be forthcoming and honest not a sneaky snake in the grass out serving his or someone else’s own purpose. Then the next day he has a meeting with his department to make them ALL fill out applications to cover his behind, now stay with me here people I know for some of you it’s hard to do but wasn’t one of the reasons he said he let the five go because they didn’t fill out applications? Seems to me if they aren’t allowed to keep their jobs and be sworn in then all of the deputy’s shouldn’t have been sworn in. I mean if the other five had done something wrong don’t hide it share it with the rest of the county who is looking at you for answers! Then at this same meeting where he is “covering his backside” he see’s fit to say don’t pull over anyone and you can’t use the K-9’s! Seems like there is a political and drug agenda here right from the get go! Remember back to when he was Sheriff before some drugs went missing then and now we aren’t pulling over people or using our K-9’s? Hmm meanwhile the gangs and drug dealers are having a big old time up in Bladen County! The he and Benston don’t show for the meeting wow that makes them look even worse, if you aren’t being sneaky and you aren’t doing wrong then why not show up? Why hide like a coward? Makes you look very suspicious I just hope the county’s residents are taking note on all these acts and use their brains when it comes time to vote! Now check this he has put Benston in a brand new position, which I find funny enough might compromise his election this November because if he was serving out his political agenda I think he is now jinxed and if so and it bites him in the behind he deserves it! I am also fed up with seeing everyone say this is a “race issue” let’s wake up people of Bladen County this isn’t the 1950’s or 1960’s even this is the year 2010 this is not about the color of anyone’s skin and I’m sick of that cop out that’s all anyone knows how to holler around the south anymore so lets just get on over that now, people have grown, changed and moved on into a new century it’s time to leave the past in the past and move forward! Storms should do what is best and just resign and step down effective immediately, the vast majority of the people in Bladen County has no faith in him to serve and protect he has already handed the county over to the drug dealers and gangs by firing those deputy’s. The department’s response time to incidents is already less than desired now with five deputy’s no on the force well I can imagine the response time will be lessened even more. Bladen County needs some elected officials with some integrity and intelligence and they need it now! Further more if you don’t like either of the candidates that are running for sheriff doesn’t the ballot have a write in slot if there is someone who has been running in the past couldn’t you just jot their name in? Either way I hope come November Bladen County gets the change they need because something needs to be done to this crooked, corrupt little county before it’s over run with gangs, violence, and drugs, before it gets too far gone!

Maybe

Maybe Storms is running a meth lab or guns or other drugs. When you start tell deputies not to do their jobs it's time for the AG, the SBI, or even the FBI to get involved. It sounds like Bladen County needs a good laxitive to clean out all the crap there.

mr.storms

MR. Storms is doing a good job keep up the good work.

I guess you are either a

I guess you are either a gang member or a drug dealer cause thats the only one's Mr.Storms is helping!

what happen to the old

what happen to the old sheriff?

Sadly he retired!

Sadly he retired!

Jumped the gun

bahaha!! That is exactly what he gets, reviewed again for violation of the hatch act...he is now over all officers...not just uniform officers, he is over investigators too...over zealous and power hungry people like herman dunn, bob meeker, jens lutz and all of his other flunkies who helped get him voted in are probably the same ones who are advising him and storms to do this,they are going to be the ones who ruin him...his own people...his advisors and campaign managers.....shows how smart they are...he will be getting exactly what he deserves if they find him in violation...i think this is so funny...they are self destructing faster than I predicted...I gave them to at least November...they are doing it in 3 days!!!! hahahaha!!

Childish

This sounds like a response from a third grader over a lost game of marbles. You can rest assured that there will be no violations found and that this will be just another witch hunt at the expense of the taxpayer's. By the way; This garbage that folks such as yourself keep spewing about the supporters of Benston is taken with a chuckle as we keep on chugging along despite the volitale atmosphere that has become the norm for the former Sheriff's candidate and his supporter's. Grow up! Were none of you taught good sportsmanship and fair play when growing up? Let's move on. It is you folks with all this negativity that are keeping Bladen County in a negative public light.

Funny I know right, the very

Funny I know right, the very people who are suppose to be helping him are causing him the greatest harm lol! That's what being power hungry and all too eager get you SOL!

citizens and taxpayers

I feel that WWAY has been bias when it comes to reporting this issue. Now I feel even more disappointed in the reporting after tonights broadcast. I have been reading and watching this as it has played out. I do not agree with WWAY taking it upon themselves as "tax payers and citizens" to ask the office of special counsel to investigate the issues regarding the Hatch Act. A Reporter is to report news not stir up controversy. Unless you are a resident of Bladen County there was no reason for your station or it's reporters to get involved with an investigation involving Bladen County Sheriff's Office. If your reporters live in Bladen County fine. But this is of no concern to non-citizens. Let Bladen Citizens handle there own request for investigation. You keep reporting on the officers not sworn in this week. It is the Sheriff's perogative who he keeps. The employees work at the will of the Sheriff. No reason is needed if he/she does not require your services anymore. Could there have been an insubordination problem? Could these 5 officers have been the "thorn in the side" of the moral of the department? Did they not clean out there desks when Benston won the runoff and say they were not working for Benston? Could this have been perceived as a resignation warranting an application? There were officers sworn in that day that campaigned for Bryan. So why are you not reporting this? I wonder why there was no investigation into the list that the Bryan campaign had that listed the officers that they were to be let go if Bryan had won. I heard this out of Bryan's own mouth. "I can't wait until "hatchet day". So where is the reporting of other side. This reporting has been one sided and it is stirring up alot of unnecessary hatred from citizens that do not know what has been going on behind the scenes. I just hope that your reporting does not sway voters to vote for Mr Ward just to keep Prentice Benston out of office. The right thing to do would be not to vote at all. Voting someone into office that has the history that Mr Ward has would be a big mistake. Morally and ethically. No amount of religion can undo the breakup of marriages or relationships (yes plural) he has caused.
As for statements in your other blogs that read to the affect of "drug dealers will be running the Sheriff's Office, I say this. The officers let go were in the drug investigation unit and if they had done their job then there would be no drug dealers, now would there?
I would also like to know if Bryan had won, and Billy Ray Pait's nephew had not been let go, would he have stood up for the one's that Bryan refused to swear back in? I hope and pray this EMBARRASMENT ends soon!

Guess again

As long as I have to work and drive through that backward, whistle-stop county, I have an interest in what goes on regarding law enforcement. THEY are the ones who patrol the highways and towns and if I have to dial 911, I don't need the Keystone Kops responding.

spelling and grammar

clearly a benston supporter...however you don't even know how to spell his name...and the embarrassment, which that is how you spell it, is coming from Prentis, not Prentice... people that are inside and outside of the Sheriff's Dept...if I were those 5 that were let go I would be ecstatic, now they can draw unemployment and not have to work under this awful bunch of people who are now running the show...there is better things for them down the road..all of you Prentis supporters will see how the county will go to nothing for the next 4 years if he wins in November...and yes I was clearly not a Prentis supporter....

spelling and grammer

Clearly a Bryan supporter.
If spelling was all the world had to worry about it would be a better place. As for grammer, you need to check your own. When did, ... , become the correct sentence form?.
I also believe the officers let go are better than just drawing unemployment. If they love what they do they will find something soon and will also make sure their cases in court are handled.

Way to go WWAY

The only news station telling it like it is! Great job! They have been fair in their reporting it isn't their fault Storms has memory loss in his golden years and can't remember his lies to keep them all straight and in a row!

Concern

This issue concerns anyone that has to travel or work in Bladen County, regardless of where they live. Unless you happen to have closed borders that peohibits all travel from outside the County.

Citizens and taxpayers

In response to these thoughts:

This is the second time that I have read that if you are a voter and you may be thinking about voting for someone other than Benston, then the "right thing" to do would be not to vote.

I did not respond the first time that I read this in an article written by someone by the name of Bob Meeker. However, this time I feel as though I have to.

When has it ever been the "right thing" to not vote. This is such a lame an uneducated tactic to use on the voters. What they are really saying is, if we can't persuade you as a voter to vote for who we like; just don't vote because when it comes down to it there is only one opinion and one vote that counts and it's ours.

This is a wake up call, voting is not a collective ownership held by a select few in this county or this country. It is the ownership of the individual that exercises his or her right.

When has it ever been the "right thing" for someone to wish for "hatchet day", what ever this means, it doesn't sound good anyway.

When has it ever been the "right thing" to do to defame someone's character and use the word religion in the same breath?

It appears that the article written was by someone that has a tremendous amount of hatred. This is a loaded gun waiting to be fired. I can only hope that this person is not employed in our sheriff's office acting in the capacity of a deputy, for the sake of the citizens of Bladen County. It does appear that this may be the case though.

Citizens and taxpayers

No I am not with any law enforcement agency. That is why it is not good to assume. And also in your case, misquote.

i disagree

HI. I am glad that someone decided to do something about this and get it looked into. I mean regardless of who is pulling for who or who has done this or that, these are still five people that have families that had no idea they were going to lose their job on Tuesday. Everyone has a closet of old skeletons that no one wants to relive. Regardless of what Billy Ward has done, i know that he has made peace with himself and i know that is a good Christian man. I think that Billy Ward would make a great Sherriff. We all have skeletons hanging in the closet and no one wants those skeletons to be exposed because we are human!!! Regardless of whoever decided to get the authorities in on it I, AS A VOTING CITIZEN OF BLADEN COUNTY, AM GLAD THEY DID IT! CONGRATS WWAY!

I agree

Skeletons are called skeletons for a reason; to be laid to rest. Billy Ward is a good man and will make a great Sheriff. Everyone has things in their past they want to keep in the past and he is no exception. He has made peace with himself and is a devoted Christian. He also loves law enforcement and wants to protect the citizens of Bladen County, especially, the small children. He will run a department that will make the people of Bladen County proud.

Earl Storms

If Earl Storms thinks the people of Bladen County is going to stand for his personal agenda he is wrong. He rather let a murder suspect walk than damper his cause. Why didn't the county commissioners lay down terms to Storms before they hired him? It is time to replace some county commissioners. Folks it is a new day the old school politics will no longer cut it. These folks are hurting you not helping you Prentis. It is time for you to talk. You will be challenged to debate Billy Ward before the election in November.
The Ward camp is growing because you refuse to talk for youself in public and the dirty politics you are allowing for you desire to be Sheriff.

Murder suspect walk

Before you go running off at the mouth, you better get your facts straight. That so called Murder suspect was arrested and held for 15 months for a crime he did not commit. Why? Because the lead detective working the case was incompetent and did not do his job. An innocent man was held, in direct violation of the most basic of rights while the Bladen County SD sat on their fat, lazy arses and did nothing. So as far as I am concerned, good riddance.

Ignorance

First of all! Go back to school and learn proper spelling and grammar. Before you start pushing your twice committed candidates agenda, let's talk about this suspect you claim that Sheriff storms is responsible for. You are dead wrong! If you bothered to look at the facts and the news reports, you would have seen that the wrong suspect was in jail the whole time and the DA had to dismiss the charges. Now! Why did this happen? Not because of Storms or Benston but rather the botched investigation by one of the deputies that were not swarn back in. Check your facts before ranting but I would not expect any less from someone who is supporting a guy who led people to believe that they were signing a petition to save the fitness center in Elizabethtown, NC.

Keep slinging the crap about

Keep slinging the crap about Prentis Benston all you want. WWAY is nothing more than a bunch of witch hunters looking for a story. Prentis is by far not a stupid man and has ridden this horse before. Why don't you all go and delve into Billy Ward's life as deep as you have this man and you might just find some intresting facts about the man that also wants to be Sheriff.

WHY

Why is the New Media so concerned about investigation
That should be the County Of Bladen Elected Commissioners, the county manager and their attorney. Do they not care. Let them take the heat for their actions or actions of the employees that represent them.

The media has the right

The media has the right to air the news. For Bladen County residents we have asked over and over what in the world is going on? No one seems to want to tell us the truth. Maybe the Media will finally get to the bottom of it or at least catch it on tape. Would we have known of the change in Mr. Storms stories if it had not been taped by the media??? NO !

I'm glad the Media is so

I'm glad the Media is so concerned about this it's bringing to light what many of us already knew in Bladen County and that the vast majority are corrupt, crooked and would sale their mama if the price was right!

thanks wway

thanks wway for cheaking in on bladen count crooks,the been run wild for to many years. and now the need to pay for ther deeds.

the county we love

daliha blanks as her reason for backing storms.her hand pick law officer maybe will look the other way when she break the law ,it time we the peaple of bladen county take back the county we love!!!!