FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Deputy speaks out as Bladen County Sheriff tries to cover tracks


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Submitted: Thu, 07/08/2010 - 3:18pm
Updated: Tue, 10/09/2012 - 1:05am
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ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — After speaking with WWAY Wednesday afternoon, Bladen County Sheriff Earl Storms called a special meeting with his deputies Wednesday night. One of the officers who attended that meeting says he’s had enough of the political games.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Edwards says he spent time Wednesday night cleaning out his patrol car. That’s because Edwards says he’s convinced he’ll be fired for blowing the whistle on Sheriff Storms.

“We were told tonight that we were not to speak to anybody outside this agency about anything that’s going on with this agency, period,” Edwards said.

He says he’s had enough of the lies and secrets that have spread through the Sheriff’s Department since Storms took over as interim sheriff Tuesday. Storms told us ten deputies were supposed to be sworn in on Tuesday, but Edwards says that’s not true.

“I want to say that there is either 48 or 52 deputies, but everybody got sworn in except for those five,” Edwards said.

And after deciding not to swear in the five deputies Tuesday morning, Storms told us he needed more time to get background information on those deputies. Wednesday, Storms changed his story and said he didn’t swear in those five deputies because they had not filled out an application. But Sgt. Edwards was sworn in, and he says he never filled out an application… until Wednesday night’s meeting.

“The Sheriff, the interim Sheriff that’s acting now, said to me, it’s to cover his ass,” Edwards said.

County Commissioners plan to hold a public meeting Friday to figure out what Storms is up to. Commissioner Billy Ray Pait says commissioners may even ask for Storms’ resignation. Edwards says he also believes the deputies who weren’t sworn in are paying a political price.

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41 Comments on "FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Deputy speaks out as Bladen County Sheriff tries to cover tracks"


Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

DONT BE HATIN, YALL KNOW THAT BOB MEEKER AND RONNIE CAN DO THE JOB. U JUST DONT WANT TO ADMIT IT. I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU POOR THING. GO EARL GO EARL GO EARL HEY HEY GO EARL GO EARL GO GO !!!! CLEAN THAT NASTY PLACE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

This is the most interesting thing to happen in Bladen County. Why is everyone in an uproar now but when Nikki Dennis was elected Clerk of Superior Court years ago she fired a team of folks and no one spoke out or even questioned her decision. We should be outraged that she earns more than $80,000 a year with only a high school diploma. I seriously doubt an African American would have been given the same opportunity in Bladen County.

As for Storms, he is the Sheriff and we should pray for him as a leader. Maybe politics played a role in his decision but its the same politics that has allowed Sylvia Campbell to be elected Mayor of Elizabethtown. If the deputies were all black, I seriously doubt there would be so much debating. The deputies fired should have all remained neutral. The genetic relationship of one of the deputies to an eleted official has definately played a role in the controversy. If it had been me, I doubt seriously anyone would have noticed or even cared. But now that the shoe is on the other foot all hell has broken loose. The good ole boy system is nearing an end.

As for Billy Ward, he will have his day and the citizens of Bladen County will speak once again. Maybe we can all take something from this and progress forward. I see the situation from both perspectives! We should all stop complaining and be sure to go out and vote in November.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

AMEN! It’s all about who you are and what your last name is here. You hit the nail on the head. Out with the old and in with somebody to do what’s right and best for the county taxpayers.

JustMe
2015 years 8 months ago

I’m glad there is someone in that department with integrity and a set to actually tell the actual truth. The truth of the matter is Bladen County has always been about gossip, lies, and good old fashioned a$$ kissing! It’s all about who you know that gets you where you wanna go and I for one find it refreshing to see someone actually speak out on the coruption that is in that county! Now maybe some of the others will not be so afraid to speak out and stand up for what is right! You want change, you want your county to improve then weed out the bad seeds and get rid of them!

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Agreed, Same thing needs to happen at the Etown PD, and Town Board.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Sheriff’s offices and politics go hand in hand. Whether or not it is right, that is the way it is and has been for a VERY long time. Eric Bryan had his own list if he would of won. Does everyone think that he would of kept Capt. Benston, Herman Dunn and his supporters…NO WAY! But you know what people, this is what happens when a new sheriff is elected! Sure, things could of been done a little different but it’s POLITICS!! Mr. Bryan would of fired people too, people who have families. If he had taken office he would had HIS OWN agenda and there would of been more than 5 that would not of gotten sworn in!
If noone believes what I have stated, ask Eric Bryan if he would of kept EVERYONE, ask him would of he fired anyone and if he is being honest, which I know he will be, he will tell you yes, he would of gotten rid of people too!

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

I do not think he is honest or great at all. As far as blowing the whistle he could blow it on his self and tell how him and 3 other officers tazed Billy Ray Cook to death just a few years ago. Between the four of them Billy was tazed 38 times. Just moments after he was dead , leaveing five children with out a father. His family was just awarded 350,000$ in a lawsuit over the incident.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

If you people dont think the great losing eric bryan would not of fired people you are wrong.

Guest11221
2015 years 8 months ago

I was not trying to use anything. I just asked a question. I do not live in that area or have a horse in the race. But, it sure sounds like you do. It would have probably looked better if Commissioner Pait recused himself from the issue. I do think what Storms has done is completely wrong. As a prior Deputy Sheriff from Virgina, I know the politics in the game.

Guest of the Queen
2015 years 8 months ago

Tried to vote twice; that my friends is classic backwards backwoods country! It’s every stereotype from Buford to Huey Long to Macon County Line–rat cheer in Bladen County.

Every job interview process has something similar to “If you have misrepresented or omitted any facts on this application, and are subsequently hired, you may be discharged from your job.” The man misrepresented himself during the interview process w/ commissioners and has continued to lie, er, misrepresent himself, in several interviews w/ the media since then. More backwards backwoods country.

Fire him.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Doesn’t matter who went to school with who the truth is coming out and it ain’t so pretty now is it?

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Hello! Please remember these reporters know nothing about our town/county. They are relying on the word of the people who talk to them. If you went to school or grew up with some of these people then you know which ones have the morals of an alley cat, the common sense of a leming and a agenda. It would be wonderful if people went into law enforcement because they believe in right and wrong and have a desire to help people, some do but alot of them do it for “power”, a job and a hidden agenda. Lets face it, they are not always the best and brightest or the most moral.
The commissioners who claim they did not know Mr. Storms supported Mr. Prentiss for sheriff, yeah right< there was a large sign in his yard for months. Everybody knew. So what, would any other interim not have a choice or vote for that position? If Mr. Storms is wrong he will admit it and fix it. He did what makes sense in the long term. Like the Bible says: "If you are not for me, you are aganst me." Maybe some should familarize themselves with it.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Please don’t bring Religion into this. It’s all Politics…I see more of the Devil at work here…The Bible sure doesn’t say to harm people. And it doesn’t say to follow Earl Storms, Bob Meeker, or any of his other Cronies. You are right..He will make it right, when he resigns!!!!!

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

I fully agree with Sgt. Edwards. As a former Bladen county deputy I am fed up with the stupidity that we have witnessed. It is being fully orchestrated by persons outside of the Dept. and carried out by Mr. storms. My question is what is so worth destroying peoples lives over? In my experience it has usually been over money and power. What has happened reeks of money and people doing what they are told to do by others. Get rid of the outside money and power then see who truly will give a damn.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

I have lived in Bladen County all my life. Elizabethtown is a small town and everyone grows up together, goes to school together, and always says hi whenever you meet them in town. I feel that since Earl Storms has taken over, we have lost that small town feeling and it has become a circus. I am so thankful that Sgt. Edwards told the truth about what is going on. I think that Mr. Storms is doing whatever he wants and he has stated in other reports that he hired Eric and Steve. I mean he comes in like a “real” sherriff whenever he is just “filling in” until the novemeber vote. I also think that Storms probably needs to be mentally tested for alzhiermer’s because he keeps changing his story. I mean it is almost like “welcome to the wild west” when we are a small town and our crime rate is high. I mean we have just recovered from a student being shot at west bladen where my child goes to school. The parents were promised law protection for their children and now with HURRICANE STORMS brewing, who knows what is in store for our children as protection. Again thank you Sgt Edwards for telling the truth to the citizens of Bladen County. I support your decision for being an HONEST PERSON! MAYBE YOU SHOULD TEACH STORMS HOW TO BE HONEST AND DO THE RIGHT THING! IT LOOKS LIKE HE HAS FORGOTTEN HOW TO TELL THE TRUTH!

Guest2010
2015 years 8 months ago

Don’t terminate a commissioner’s nephew and get away Scott free.

Had it been my nephew, I doubt Pait would notice it.

Storms did what he had to do. Storms is a stubborn administrator who won’t be pushed around by the likes of Mr Pait and his kinfolks.

QuietOne
2015 years 8 months ago

Sgt Edwards, It takes a lot of guts to speak out the way you did. Thank you for not giving in to pressure and taking the easy road. If you are let go, I hope you find a department worthy of someone with your high standards. You did the right thing.

wesb
2015 years 8 months ago

It’s about time someone comes forward and lets us citizens know about the corruption and lies that are going on in the department. Thank you Gary for being brave enough to come forward, God bless you. Storms is just doing Benstons dirty work of getting rid of Eric and his top supporters, he probably doesn’t care if he is in office for the remiander of the term. Storms,Benston and Dunn are no more than a bunch of yes men puppets for Bob Meeker. Meeker just wants to get control since Bunn retired that is the only reason he is backing Benston. He knows Benston is not the most qualified for the job, but Benston will do what ever Meeker wants. Benston has never been a patrol officier with the department. He has no experience at patrolling and enforcing the law or doing ivestigations, isn’t this the main things you want a sheriff to be good at? If you voted for Benston I ask that you reconsider your vote in November, after seeing all that has gone on this week, because Benston is right there in the middle of it.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Will someone tell me what is so bad about Bob Meeker. I think he has bee very generous to the county. I know for a fact he has given 2 New Tahoe suv’s and AR-15’s for the SO , at least one K-9, Boats for water rescue, a new ambulance for Tar Heel, a cruiser to White Lake PD and probably a lot more that’s not known. I didn’t see anyone turn this stuff down then. I don’t agree with have the firings were handled but maybe we don’t know the whole story. Those 5 were only going to keep everything stirred til Nov. The truth be known there are several more that need to be fired or put on leave til this over. Mr. Benston and Mr. Dunn being just two.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

The Sheriff needs to be a good manager. Patroling, serving papers, shooting guns is for his staff. I think Storms was just taking care of problems before they started.

sadcountyemp
2015 years 8 months ago

Thank You Sgt. Edwards! You have done the right thing. This mess has torn the Sheriff Department apart. Thank you for making a stand to show the children of Bladen County that there are men and women in the department who have honor. Maybe the Commissioners will do the right think now. Again I want to thank you for your service to Bladen County.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Thanks Gary….I really appriecate what you did…

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

It will be hard for Benston to oversee duties that he has never done himself or has the education and experience to do.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

To be a good manager you need to know how to do the jobs you are in charge of overseeing.

Why?
2015 years 8 months ago

I am having a hard time understanding why anyone would fire because of political reasons. It seems to me you would want to keep them close and work with them. If they cause problems and do not do their job to make you look bad then it will be obvious to others they are not team players and then probably do need to be fired. I do not know Mr Edwards but I hope he is able to find other employment if his job is in jeopardy.

Guest11221
2015 years 8 months ago

I am not from the Bladen County area, but I have one question. Are County Commissioner Billy Ray Pait and the officer Pait that was not sworn in related? It just seems this Commissioner has some type of stake in this issue other than right and wrong. I am just curious!!

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Of course they are related. The former deputy is his nephew.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

It is his nephew……………

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Yes, Billy Ray is related to Scott Pait but why would this stop things that has happen to other 5 left that is going to bo fired or is fired? Prentist is Blanks son-in-law and Storms has a girl who is the SBI resident officer for Bladen County and works out of the Bladen County S.O. Ahhhhhhhh now will that make investigating someone in the department hard to do when all in the family helps out? Lets talk about the Hog cooking for Prientist supporter by the Storms on his election web site. And look folks I like Meeker I think if he want to buy the county he can! It is a free county and if he offers me enough, I will leave and I swear I never will return only to thank him every chance I can get! Hang in their Bob You will own it soon but lets get the crap out of the department frist and put Littles or Kinlaw back in the upper seat.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

yes he is his nephew but Prentis Benston is Deliah Blanks son in law, so cant try to use that..

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

AMEN!

Guest2010
2015 years 8 months ago

Earl is a man of integrity who did what he had to do to prevent friction in the agency. Had Storms not fired Pait’s nephew, we wouldn’t have heard anything about this.

ashamedBladenresident
2015 years 8 months ago

To prevent friction?!?! I think he just amped up the friction tenfold. Maybe the old man has dementia because that’s the only thing that would explain his assine actions and his inability to keep his story straight. Response time in the country areas of the county is already terrible and he gets rid of deputies?!?! I guess us taxpayers out in the country don’t count. I feel so protected in this county. Just when I think Bladen County can’t get anyomre stupid, it does.

off the cuff
2015 years 8 months ago

Your comment about “integrity” and Earl Storms in the same breath stinks. Can anyone say “politics of the good ole boy system”? This reeks. The new sheriff will fire enough when he takes over, and it wasn’t for Storms to do. Politics in any Sheriff’s Department stinks and it is always there waiting to rear its’ ugly head.

Storms was supposed to be impartial and that was why he was appointed. You have seen just how impartial he is and what kind of “leader” he will be until November. He supports one side of the political machine and you can bet that many hope Ward will get elected come November. If not, look to see more heads roll in November. Storms got the ball rolling a little early and clearly “slapped the face” of those who appointed him to be “impartial”. What a joke he is!!! He should immediately be relieved of his duties.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Mr. Pait is doing what the residents of Bladen County have asked him to do. This has nothing to do with the fact that he had a nephew in the SO it because it was the wrong thing to do…Please lets look at the big picture.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Storms is just as crooked as the others that manipulated the polls and voters with lies, malice and money to get ]enston elected. Any man, especially Storms, who can’t give his word publicly and stand by it is man at all. Spineless ans easily manipualted by the lure of power and greed. Wonder how much Meecker is paying him? Wake up folks. Eric Bryan is a good, honorable man. Always has been. If he didn’t get sheriff, you can bank on it that it was because money changed hands in the opposition. Look @ D. Blanks. What she did was immoral and illegal, yet she still sits firm on her comfy seat. Yeah…they need to clean house….starting with the real crooks…Benston, his supporters and those who have contributed to this mess and even now, lie about it “to cover their ass….’ well said, Gary Edwards. Kudos to you. A man of integrity and principle…there are two few of you left. My heart goes out to you, to Mr. Bryan. The other officers and their families. God has said “vengance is mine” and I’m sure theirs is coming. Hang in there guys. We love you.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

I’m not his kinfolk and I would have gone after Earl Storms. So unless you know what you are talking about, keep your mouth shut. And Maybe he won’t get pushed around by the Good ones like the Paits,But Rather by the likes of Bob Meeker which seems to suit him better. The point is we need to have Sheriff Storms thrown out on his butt for telling the Deputies to not stop suspected drug dealing autos and not to use the K-9 dogs. How about a memo telling all officers to not contact him but to notify Prentis Benston. Benston is no more the Sheriff than I am…. Please stop acting like he won…..he has won nothing nor will he. Benston supporters are jumping off him like fleas off a dog…..So sorry Bob Meeker and Ronnie Rising you two will never control the Sheriff’s Dept again!!!!

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Mr Pait and the other commissioners were told that Storms was going to NOT get rid of anyone, and try to help mend the department. Pushed around?? Are you an Idiot?? take the time to look at Scott Pait’s track record within that department, arrests made, cases solved, reports taken, not to mention the individuals he has helped, there was NO legitimate reason to get rid of such a GREAT officer. He is respected and very respectful to all, he treats everyone the same. again are you an IDIOT?? All of those officers are great officers, take a look at their track records. Maybe you need to just shut up.

Maybe Scott Pait should run for Sheriff, now that would make Bladen County a safe place to live.

Kudos to Gary, I am sure you said what a lot want to.

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

i agree

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Having spoken to Commissioner Pait myself, I can tell you that he is upset because before being sworn in, Earl Storms gave every indication to the commissioners that he would NOT do what he just did. This has nothing to do with family and EVERYTHING to do with Storms lying to the commissioners. It’s a sad day when a man’s word is WORTHLESS!!

Guest
2015 years 8 months ago

Exactly, Etown PD is full of the “good ol boy system” and the Town Board wants everyone to think Etown is Mayberry. It all depends on who you are or who you know in Etown.