Bladen Sheriff snubs commission; does not attend special meeting

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Submitted: Sat, 07/10/2010 - 3:06am
Updated: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 2:20am

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The newly appointed Bladen County Sheriff was nowhere to be found at a meeting called to determine his future with the department. Some county commissioners and the standing room only crowd are still searching for answers.

“We had asked Sheriff Earl Storms to appear before us to answer questions,” said Commission Chair Billy Ray Pait. “I had several questions I wanted answered. He was notified to be here. He assured us he would be here, and he’s not here. We have sent after him. We can’t find him.”

After a week of lies about why five Bladen County deputies were fired, a divided crowd made their voices heard about the decision.

“You only can do what’s right, and Mr. Storms done what he needed to do, and that’s all I have to say,”
said Karen Dove Ruffin.

“Earl is going to have to resign, or you folks are going to have to find out a way with the county attorney to get him out of there,” G.C. Bryan said. “I think we need to reinstate these five deputies.”

While those he fired were in attendance the man behind all the controversy, Storms was not at the meeting.

“I mean he’s not going to step up to the plate,” said Eric Bryan, the former candidate for Sheriff who was among the five deputies let go. “I mean it doesn’t surprise me that he wasn’t here. I didn’t expect him to be here.”

Residents were concerned that the firings could effect pending legal cases, but even without their badges, the officers say they won’t stop doing the jobs they sworn to do.

“We’re committed to seeing these cases through to ensure justice is done for the people of Bladen County,” former deputy Scott Pait said.

We tried to speak with Delilah Blanks and Charles Ray Peterson, the two commissioners who nominated Storms for the position. Both declined to talk on camera, they but said they stand by their decisions. The officers Storms let go disagree.

“In my opinion he’s a disgrace to being a sheriff,” Bryan said.


  • Guest says:

    It’s ignorant people such as this one who keeps the problems going in this county, just like Billy Ray Pait calling a meeting for his nephew and the 4 deputies who were not fired but rather, were not sworn in under a new administration. That’s right; New administration, because when each new sheriff who takes office (even interum) it’s a new administration. These 5 who we will now call “the Bladen 5″ are comprised of 1 who filed for retirement but still wants to stir the pot, 1 who is a sore loser and does not even know the political protocol to support his parties nominee and 3 who chose to alienate fellow employees before and after the election. When a man is asked to cut the fat or straighten the problem out that is what a man like Storms does. Even if this move improves productivity and moral it may not sit well with sore losers who would rather keep controversy going rather than the more efficient way that the sheriff’s office is running right now. I believe that the media has distorted things enough and does not need the help of angry friends of these deputies who don’t know the law anyway. Let me close by saying 3 things to this writer.
    1. Learn how to spell
    2. Go to the NC general assembly website when you want to know law.
    3. Blanks is the EX mother in law of Benston.
    It helps when facts are reported rather than heresay.

  • how nice says:


  • Guest says:

    It is INTERIM, not interum

  • Guest says:

    I cannot say whether I completely agree or disagree with the posts on the debate of the supposed wrongdoings within the Sheriff’s Department or the widespread accusations that have been hurled at all of the candidates and more; however, I can comment on number 1 of your three comments at the bottom of your post. If you are going to make the comment to “learn how to spell,” you might want to check the spelling of your posts. It is “hearsay.” I am sorry; I could not resist the remark with all of the trashing of reputations, I thought maybe a lighter note was needed somewhere on this blog. I am of the opinion that we are all put here on this Earth to live an accomplished life and we are given the ability, talent, skill and knowledge to accomplish what life puts before us. These are innate within us; we already have them at our disposal even if we are not consciously aware of them. Why not have faith and trust God to guide Bladen County in the voting process? There may be innate abilities within all of the people that have been trashed during this election that others may not be able to see because of the blinders – no matter how well they know the candidates or the “Bladen 5″ as you have called them.

  • Guest says:

    Just FYI a Sheriff is an elected offical that does a four year term in office and is responible for running a department. He/She can hire/fire any employee at any time for no reason and any employee that works under a sheriff knows this. Sheriff Earl Storms was Sheriff of Bladen County from 1976-1994 and did a great job of running the department. During the previous years the leadership within the department has fallen into the “good ole boy” system. Where deputies have gotten any with immoral actions and “bad choices” were over looked. Sheriff Storms was and still is a no nonsense Sheriff that will weed out the bad from the good and get the department back on track and prepare the department for the best (hopefully) for the new incoming sheriff. In my opinion the county commisioners nephew was fired in return someone if not himself contacted the media and as always the media blew the situation all out of whack! I say let Sheriff Storms do his job and clean house and reunite and an already divided department and move forward!

  • Guest says:

    The sheriff does have the right to change deputies, however this interium sheriff way of handling it, did it without any respect and dignity to the men/women in the department and has told L-I-E lie after lie which is documented by numerous reporters as well as on camera. This shows poor leadership skills and lack of integrity to the Sheriffs dept. This man didnt wait until he was 75 to start coniving and telling lies, this is a lack of moral character he has brought to the office from years of politics. This lack of integrity is not the leadership we need in any law enforcement department as it instills lack of suppoert from the public. The was an interium sheriff in place as the county coroner’s duties include, until a proper sheriff can be put in place. The county coroner stated he didnt want it (although he ran for the coroners job in which this is in his duties should it arise) and the commisioners in haste put this disrespectful liar in office. Now the 2 commisioners who nominated him still stand behind their decision of this man after his lies being well documented show their lack of morals as well. It does show that regardless of education “Stupid is as Stupid does”. The commisioners and attorney needs to correct this problem as I doubt this guy has the understanding of his poor judgement or the morals to step down.

  • herecomesthejudge says:

    Im on my way to Bladen County to find out what all this MESS is about.
    Im going to be WALKING TALL & taking my BAT.
    WE will have andsers in a few days.

  • idiotwatcher says:

    He refused a reasonable request by the people he reports to. Any other job in America you would be fired. Fire Storms. It is the next elected Sheriff who does the house cleaning not an appointed Sheriff.
    Blanks cut a deal with Storms to do the dirty work for Prentis before he becomes Sheriff. Hopefully Billy Ward will be the one cleaning house.

  • Guest says:

    Both Benston and Storms did not show up for the Commissioner meeting and it is probably a good thing, especially for Mr. Ward, and they would have been slaughtered by the media and the citizens of Bladen County. Keep making yourselves look bad, while Mr. Ward’s camp gets stronger and stronger.

  • nctrooper10722001 says:

    Sad …

  • Guest says:

    First off, get off the fact that Chairman Pait’s nephew was one of teh officers fired. Blanks is the MOTHER-IN-LAW of Benston and she tried to VOTE 3 times. For crying out loud, if that would have been me or you we would have been charged for the crime that it is.. Seems that if anyone in the Benston campaign does anything no matter what it is it’s OK, but god forbid if you were in the Bryan campaign, everything you do is either wrong, racist, or illegal. So just drop the family relation, it’s ridiculas and don’t think for a minute the people don’t know why Blanks did what she did, and if memory serves me correct she to LIED to the media about her actions.

    Also, I to know officers from both sides that work within the department, and for anyone to say that they are healing and moving on you apparently don’t know them very well. Those guys are hurting and you can see it in their faces. Yeah I know some are happy as a fly on a pile of CRAP, becasue that’s excatally what it is. But the majority of those officers are very upset and hurt by what has happen.

    If Storms had adequate reasons to fire these offices, why doesn’t he have the backbone to tell them the reasons. He keeps telling lie after lie to the media and others as to why he did what he did, but not one of those officers have been contacted by him and told anything. He didn’t even have the backbone to do it himself, he lets Herman Dunn a NON-resident of Bladen County do it. If he is such a strong sheriff where is the strength to stand up to the officers himself and just tell them. He is obviously a COWARD, who not only doesn’t know how to tell the truth but doesn’t know how to show morals and ethics. I don’t want that as a sheriff.

    Finally, Storms is NOT the elected sheriff and therefore should not have the right to do what he did. In November if Benston won and decided to clean house then that would be completely different. But that is not what happened and it should NOT have happen the way it did.

  • Guest says:

    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!

  • Guest666 says:

    I could care less what the sheriff does or does not do. However, seems like a lot of people are all bent out of shape over what the appointed sheriff has done. First, deputies serve at the pleasure of the sheriff. This means that he can hire and fire who he wants when he wants. He was appointed to fill a temporary vacancy. He IS the sheriff and should be able to run his office as he sees fit without a lot of interference from the public, press and commissioners. When he does not do as the commissioners want, then they try to remove him. Talk about dirty, crooked politics. Leave the man alone and if you don’t like him, vote him out the next election.

  • Ward4Sheriff says:

    With you all the way idiotwatcher. Billy Ward will clean house, but I feel he will do it with the department already in place. He will make them accountable and they will be professional law enforcement officers or they will terminate themselves. It will not be because of who they support in this election. Those officers that lost their jobs will be the first ones he looks at to fill needed positions.

  • Guest says:

    That does NOT even make any since!!! He is an INTERIM Sheriff who was NOT ELECTED be the people; he was placed there by the cmmissioners to fill in for the remainder of Bunn’s term since Bunn retired in June!…when the election comes up in November, he will not be on the ballot to vote out. Storms will be going back into retirement! Please, if you are going to comment on this issue, atleast have some idea of what you are talking about!!!!

  • Guest says:

    If Storms stays after everyone asks him to resign it shows he has no integrity, and is serving his or someone elses own purposes while in there! I thought Bentson would be good choice for the county but now I’m thinking again looks like he’s in bed with the other dirty low lifes of Bladen County *sigh* hopefully there might be someone out there worthy of protecting and serving the county but sadly not Storms and not Bentson!

  • Guest says:

    I will be at that meeting also and I will be there for support for Sheriff Earl Storms. No one knows why things happened the way they did, unless they were on the inside working for the county. There were too many shut door conversations prior to the appointment between Phillip Little, Steve Lesane and others. Mr. Little just knew he had the appointment in his pocket.

    Sheriff Storms, you came in and did the County a valuable service. I know that Bryan and Benston supporters both who work inside the department have started healing and coming together as a team, especially since the dark cloud of tension and destruction have gone

  • Guest says:

    Evidently you do not know, or have not spoken with any employees of the Bladen county Sheriffs office. I am friends with several deputies and have spoken with them and the concensus is everyone at that department is walking on eggshells. They are all excellent officers and are just worried if they to will be unemployed and looking for a way to feed their family. I also had the utmost respect for Earl Storms and thought he would be above the pettiness and politics, but I was sadly mistaken. He Like Benston and Dunn is just a puppet for Bob Meeker who is the real scoundrel behind all of this mess

  • Guest says:

    I attended the called meeting by the County Commissioners. Let me tell you, it was a joke. The commissioners failed to come to any decision. Earl Storms would not even show his face. People think this is a race issue but the fact is it is not. Black and White were both fired from the department without warning. How many of you would like to be told twenty minutes before you thought you were being sworn in you didn’t have a job. They have families to feed too. I will say there was one brave commissioner besides Chairman Pait who had enough guts to stand up and say we should ask for his resignation. That man was Commissioner Lewis Tatum. I hope the voters remember the events that have taken place. What would happen if we went to the polls and tried voting three times as one such commissioner did? I will tell you what would happen. We would be in major trouble. What would happen if you lied under oath? You would be arrested. So we have a Sheriff who is a liar as well as a commissioner who says she was testing the system. I would have to say that was a big fat lie also. Hopefully the Citizens of Bladen County will get out and vote. As a Citizen of Bladen County, I am ashamed of the new Sheriff and ashamed of the way majority of our County Commissioners voted.

  • Guest of the Queen says:

    I don’t get the part about not being able to fire the sheriff.

    Every job application has a line similar to “If you have misrepresented or omitted any facts on this application, and are subsequently hired, you may be discharged from your job.”

    Apparently, Mr Storms misrepresented himself; fire him.

  • Informed says:

    A Sheriff is an elected or in this case an appointed offical. They don’t have to fill out an application. Once their in office, unless they resign their position it pretty much takes a criminal act on their part to be removed from office.

    But I agree he apparently doesn’t need to be in office.

  • Ward4Sheriff says:

    That sounds just like something Storms and Benston would do; not show up for their own show!!! They knew they would be slaughtered by the citizens and the media. Notice in the news video the race of the people that filled the courtroom has also changed. It is hard to support a black man just because he is black since you know that what he is doing is wrong. Voting for Mr. Benston would be a grave mistake and I feel that the citizens of Bladen are realizing this no matter what color they are. He cannot even compare himself to Obama has some people have done. His campaign his not clean and the people that support him are not clean. He lets other people do his dirty work and gets promoted to the second highest position in the dept. at the expense of others. It is too late for the Commissioners to do anything with Storms and they should be ashamed. Bladen County is a mockery and Mr. Benston is behind it. I am for Mr. Ward and feel he will lead this county in the right direction. People are joining the Ward Camp every day and some were Benston supporters. This is just a taste of what it will be like if Benston wins. Do not let it happen by casting your vote for Mr. Ward in November.

  • fireguy says:

    The former Sheriff candidate should look in the mirror and face disgrace for what he said. Sheriff Storms is a four term Sheriff with an unblemished record who retired and recommended the recently retired Sheriff. The news media and 2 county commissioners have made a circus out of this whole situation and I do not blame Sheriff Storms for ignoring this ridiculous sideshow. There were 5 deputies who were not re-appointed and they are causing the same unrest in this situation as they did during the election. The only thing political about this is The Chairman of the county commissioners and his anger over his nephew not being sworn in. The former candidate ran a less than honorable campaign and could not let it rest after he lost the election; but the now unaffiliated candidate in November is another story. The bottom line is that 25 deputies openly and aggressively supported the former candidate in his campaign and on his website. 20 of them were re-appointed by Storms which means politics had nothing to do with this but rather the individuals behavior and their determination to disrupt. Sheriff Storms was asked to re-establish order and that is exactly what he did. Kudos to you Sheriff Storms and keep up the good works that you have always exemplified.

  • Guest says:

    Please Storms is doing what should be done, Eric Bryan has lost he needs to get over it.

    He said he would fire people that didnt support him

  • Guest says:

    I guess Eric Bryan would of kept everyone had he won Sheriff, that he didn’t have a list? I guess every other Sheriff in North Carolina is a disgrace too since they fired people they didn’t trust either!!!

  • Guest says:

    Integrity is the key and ERIC BRYAN has plenty! He would have held the department together and tried to make it a team of united workers again. I do NOT believe that he had a list of people he would have fired, but thank you for admitting that Benston is behind the firing of the 5 officers!

  • Guest says:

    if mr. storms did not trust these people why did he not get rid of them back in 94 before he left office 3 of the 5 were employed with the SO in 94 also he has not been there in 16 years he does not know the other 2 well enough not to trust them the man in doing this on someone elses behalf.

  • Guest says:

    If these are legit firings on Storms’ behalf, then why lie about it? Why does he have at least three different explanations? JUST BE TRUTHFUL. It IS his right to get rid of deputies…he has just handled it horribly. The man didn’t even have the stones to show up at the meeting last friday. He has created this mess by not being truthful and not properly defending his actions to the commissioners. He should have picked one explanation and stuck with it.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    according to the statutes, he can resign; he will be replaced when his elected replacement is sworn in; or he can be terminated for breaking the law. I believe that sums it up.

    Failure to appear at a hastily called meeting. An easy dodge — “…I was out in the County attending to my duties…”

    The Commissioners chose him to fill a short term need. Now that he’s shown who runs the county, you’ll just have to hold on until after the election.

    It did send a message when he chose not to continue the nephew of a Commissioner.

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