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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Interim Bladen County Sheriff can't seem to get his story straight; Commissioners may try to terminate him

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Interim Bladen County Sheriff can't seem to get his story straight; Commissioners may try to terminate him

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) -- Interim Bladen County Sheriff Earl Storms is under fire for letting several deputies go moments after he took office yesterday. Since talking with WWAY last night, Storms keeps changing his story.

Today, Storms says he asked the deputies to reapply for their positions and the deputies chose not to. But last night, he told us he needed more time to evaluate them before swearing them in.

This all stems from a swearing-in ceremony in yesterday. Storms was sworn in, as were some of the county's deputies. Five of the office's 10 deputies were not sworn in. One of them was Chief Deputy Phillip Little, who interim Sheriff Storms says retired. As for the other four, former Sheriff candidate Eric Bryan, Scott Pait, Steve Lesane and Debra Nelson, Storms gave one explanation about why they were not sworn in, but today it was a different story.

"It's the Sheriff's prerogative and state law to swear in deputies that he so desires," Storms told WWAY last night. "And a lot of the men, I haven't had a chance to go over their record. That will come down the line."

Today, though, Storms said, "I haven't fired anybody. They were all offered applications. They declined not to fill them out. I didn't hire them. You can't fire them if you didn't hire them."

Nelson emailed us this morning saying, "Your news release is a LIE. Earl Storms never talked to me this morning or my supervisor Scott Pait. Herman Dunn, Prentis Benston's campaign manager/treasurer, came to us and told us we were not being sworn back in. Storms never talked to us."

Storms admits he never talked to the five deputies before they found out at the last minute that they would not be sworn in.

County Commissioner Billy Ray Pait says the decision reeks of politics. He says commissioners will hold a special meeting Friday to see if they can legally terminiate Storms.

We were shown a letter today posted inside the Sheriff's Department that tells dispatchers not to contact Sheriff Storms directly at any time. Instead they should contact Capt. Prentis Benston, the Democratic nominee for Sheriff in November, first or Dunn. If you connect the political dots, Storms threw his support behind Benston early in the race. Dunn is Benston's campaign manager/treasurer.

Lesane, Pait and Nelson all supported Bryan's campaign for sheriff, according to Bryan's campaign website.

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.


Obama did not "deserve" to be president

And the American people deserve better.

I agree

whole heartedly. Obama didn't "deserve" to be president. Not sure anyone "deserves" that job. That makes it seem like a right, not an opportunity to serve your fellow citizens. Which he sucks at doing by the way.

See, now there's my problem

I can't believe someone who can form correct sentences has the capacity to understand what a candidate stands for when they vote for them.


Because they are the ones who are so easily influenced by these politicians. Herding them like little ship who know not what is happening.

Keep Hatin' I am gonna be at

Keep Hatin' I am gonna be at the meeting Friday- LOUD AND PROUD- speaking my mind. It is the Sherrif right to fire whoever he wants--yall hatin cause my man won and yours didnt.

go to your meeting

Go to the meeting, I hate to inform you but once the sheriff is swore in, you can not fire him. He is yours for 5 months, learn to live with it, there are many times a new sheriff comes in and fires folks, why is this one news.

ahhh yes

All the little ships being herded into a harbor.

Clear this up.

When a new sheriff comes in do all the deps have to be resworn? I mean they are already on the force. Do they come in the next day and suddenly are no longer employed? If Storms was appointed as interim, he should have just come in and played out his time, not rearrange the department. Commissioners, hike up your shorts and fix this now.

If Mr. Little retired, why

If Mr. Little retired, why was he as surprised as the others at the ceremony yesterday?

Mr. Storms, which lie, I mean story, is it? A person who tells the truth tends to tell the same story no matter what.

And it took so much class to wait until right before the ceremony to tell the people that they weren't going to be included.

Bladen County Politics

You people must not remember, because Steve has run unopposed for so many years, this is the way it goes when a new sheriff is sworn in. His opponent and opponent's backers are usually not sworn in, which is the case in most political affairs. Vote for who you want to vote for but know if you show your hand the toes you step on today may be connected to the a** you'll have to kiss tomorrow.

Does anyone remember Horace Williams????? He was taught this lesson by Steve Bunn years ago.

Bladen County Sheriff

Firstly, our county commissioners should have known better than to bring Earl Storms back. Secondly, Phillip Little has been acting Bladen County Sheriff when the former Sheriff was out of town. So the "common sense" thing to have done was to have elected Phillip Little Sheriff for the next five months. It is obvious there was a motive to elect Storms. I am disappointed that several of our commissioners fell for Miss Blank's trap and I am sure they are now. Storms is serving as clean-up man for Sheriff hopeful Benston.

Earl Storms stated he wanted to get to know the Deputies was the reason he requested them to fill out job applications. If memory serves me right three of the five he let go worked for him when he was Sheriff before.

The good news is our younger generation is not playing the good ole boy politics.
The dirty politics truths are coming out like never before and change is on the way.
They are many unanswered questions in this whole mess. With the press now involved and citizens in an uproar folks will either come clean or be voted out of office or better yet citizens will do their homework before they cast their votes.

Questions that need to be answered:

1. who financed Rodney Hester’s campaign?
2. who financed Prentis Benston’s campaign?
3. what was the purpose of bringing Earl Storms back?
4. why did Storms not hire those who supported Eric Bryan?
5. is Storms a Blank’s yes man?
6. why did both Bryan and Benston refuse to debate the issues?
7. what is Benston’s education level?
8. do we need a Sheriff who is not affiliated with current mess?

Good Lord Almighty!!!

WHERE did they dig THIS guy up??? Did you hear him on the video clip this evening? THIS is what Bladen County wants for their chief law enforcement officer? He has a hard time nailing a verb up against a noun to complete a sentence, and it appears that when he does succeed in formulating a thought and verbalizing it, it's a lie!

I'm searching my memory....I know I've seen this guy before....Hee-Haw......Deliverance.....?

I Told You

I told you what would happen and now you all see what kind of Sheriff Mr. Benston would be. Mr. Storms is his puppet and his thugs and drug dealers will be your new Sheriff's deputies. I know you all are proud of your County Commissioners for letting this happen. Vote for Mr. Ward and he will correct these problems that Mr. Benston is creating. Mr. Benston is committing Political Suicide and Mr. Ward will reap the benefits. Just sit back and watch. Maybe they will all be put in prison and Mr. Ward will be the only person on the ballot in November.

Actually the deputies who

Actually the deputies who are still working are both Eric and Prentis supporters. So I guess what you are saying if Billy Ward wins this election, the Eric supporters who are still working will be nailed as thugs and drug dealers too?
"If" Billy Ward wins this election,there will be more deputies out of work because there will be Prentis supporters at the polls. How dare he say he will not fire anyone. He's already lying. Politics will always affect The Sheriff's Office and that's the way it is. The new Sheriff will be able to fire employees at will for no reason and the General Statutes define that clearly.
Either way you look at it,,you can't please everybody all the time.

Come November, there will be a new Sheriff elected and my vote will be for Prentis Benston. I can compare apple to oranges on this one.

How Can You

How can you say you will support a man with the corrupt background and mindset that Mr. Benston has? Do you not read the news or see what is happening on the news. Benston and Storms have made a mockery of Bladen County and its leaders and you can still honestly say that you would vote for someone who is in the middle of it all. He is destroying families and careers as we speak and is using someone else to do it. I do not think Mr. Ward has made any statements about firing anyone in the dept. He is running
unaffiliated to show the citizens of Bladen County that he believes politics are overrated in county-wide elections and he has no problems with people that support Mr. Benston and will not say a bad word about him. Let the education and experience help you make your decision, not politics, race, or money.

explain to me...

What "corrupt mindset and background" Prentis Benston has?

Do you know him? Have you even talked to the man?

Has he been cited or reprimanded for anything?

Meanwhile, you're supporting a man that hasn't been in law enforcement for over 30 years, and left the Highway Patrol due to getting beat up. Yet, he wants to become a county sheriff.

Benston has been in that Dept for over 20 years. You know, the time while Billy Ward was sitting at home trying to scheme his way into the Sheriff's office through the back door the countless times he ran.

Race is a factor!

I have not lived here as long as some of the rest of you but I have heard it myself that RACE does play a big factor in this. Mr. Ward only deceided to run after Benston won and many of citizens DID vote based on color. I think its sad that we do not vote based on the qualifications of the person running. This should have nothing to do with who our president is and what color he is, but I also heard that as a reason. Its very sad times we are living in and we all need to come together and pull Bladen County back together before its to late. Oh, I am white.

Totally Inaccurate

Mr. Ward was gathering signatures to be on the independent ticket long before the first primary. He made this known up front. Please don't distort facts to play the race card.

Race a factor?

C'mon? You say NOT???
How in the heck do you think Obama was elected? Does first time, minority voters ring a bell? Do you think it was racist that people who had NEVER voted or knew anything about politics got off their lazy tails and voted for him simply because he was black, or closest thing to it?

So, now...see what we get when people vote with emotion rather than value? Now, we have a healthcare system that nobody wanted and will be impossible to fund and now he's wasting the taxpayers money to sue Arizona because of their effort to enforce existing immigration law and protect their borders (that the federal government refused to do!). Ever notice that Obama never has the American Flag behind him when he "orates"? These are simple questions, you guys can fill in the answers.

So, how many of you are still looking in your mailbox daily to see if it is full of free stuff? Getting old and boring isn't it? Hopefully the next time people get off their duffs to go vote, it will be in the best interest of the people, not in the best interest of A person, his race or his color! This should apply to all elections, at all levels.

So very true

But wait for the lazy & inept to call you "a hater" and other names. I usually get it for calling criminals what they are... thugs, punks and low life. I get called a racist even though I don't mention race.

Let's make that call....

Mr. Jens L. Lutz, advisor to the Benston campaign, quotes on the Prentis Benston for Sheriff Facebook website:


Well, I have a few, Mr. Storms. Why don't we all contact him at home now and ask him why he did this to the 5 families involved in the "Earl Storms HATCH-ET Act?" These were some great officers that took the loss, swallowed their pride, and went back to work for the opponent, just to be openly and publicly humiliated. This was an act of "nod and wink" "GOOD 'ole boy" politics at their WORST... This was in NO WAY Democracy.... I am SICKENED by it all.... I am ashamed to be a Bladen County girl right now...

Sheriff race

All of you in Bladen county remember that God is in control and his will be done. Lay your hearts at rest. would jesus want us to have all this anger in our hearts and ill will toward others. Just remember whoever is in the wrong they will meet their maker and he or she will be judged by the one who is suppose to judge. I say this in favor of no one but if you truly believe in jesus christ our savior then this should be your path.I pray for all of you it seems you have lost focus of what is really important.

If your God is in control in

If your God is in control in Bladen county could you please ask him to paint the trim on the courthouse It's looking pretty shabby.

Thats Mature

Sure,thats mature.. belittle someones religion.. this whole issue has created to many enemies and way to much drama! I have sat back and read these comments and yes you have the right to your opinion, and if you don't believe in Christ thats your choice.. but please do not make such rude comments. I will sit back and listen to you complain about the Sheriffs issue.. and even the arguing about who has done what, to gain a leg in the race. But i cant stand someone belittling someones faith!

Awesome comment..LOVE IT!!

Awesome comment..LOVE IT!!

Bladen County Sheriff's Dept

There should be a full scale investigation of this department, no questions asked. This 'election' is ridiculous...I was approached by a deputy that implored me to go vote 2 weeks ago, he said he really needed my vote....I can only assume that he assumed that since I am white, that I would vote for the white candidate....WRONG! What kind of county is this? I feel like I live in 1910 instead of 2010. Not to mention that our judicial system in this county has allowed an admitted sex offender (among other things) to freely sashay the streets of Kelly(Oh, should I mention that said deputy is also nephew of admitted sex offender?!)!!! Somebody PLEASE call the SBI!! I feel like I'm living in a bad movie about the south and Dwight Yoakam is the 'friendly county sheriff with Meatloaf as his right hand man'.


Now all you have to do is read this and you will be able to see what is really going on...Whoever this guest was from the Bladen County Sheriffs Office is jus as crazy sounding as anything. He sounds like he come straight from the Wild West himself...All except that he can vote for some1 black...What is he talk9ing about really? Its not black or white it is the fact they dont have a clue as to what they are doing here in the lovely BC

You wrote

"There should be a full scale investigation of this department, no questions asked." No questions asked? What does that mean? How can you have a full scale investigation w/o questions? Why do you think it was about color? translate the translate the punctuation....there should be no doubt, no question, no hesitation, as to whether the SBI needs to investigate what is going on within the Bladen County Sheriff's Dept. Why do I think it is about color? Unforunately, the deputy ( that stood in front of a local general store and approached every white person, of voting age,that pulled in the parking lot)told me and my young daughter, that 'they' had been hauling 'them' by the van load to the poll that day to make sure that everyone of 'them' that could be propped up to vote, got their vote counted for. He did not feel like he had to refrain from using racial slurs. So, I KNOW that it was, in large part for at least 1 Bladen County Deputy, a very racial issue...unfortunately.

Bladen County Sheriff's Dept

Oh...for anyone that has the time and initiative....the North Carolina Special Investigations Bureau, is the division that would/should be called in to investigate and they are online.(NC SBI)


No, the NC SBI is the North Carolina State Bureau of Investion.