ONLY ON 3: Sheriff’s deputy says “Bladen County is a criminal’s paradise”


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Submitted: Wed, 07/14/2010 - 7:10pm
Updated: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 2:19am By:

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – After a week of turmoil Bladen County deputies still on the job tell us what’s really going on inside the department. The deputies asked that we conceal their identities because they fear for their jobs and retaliation, but they say residents of Bladen County are not safe under the current administration.

Sheriff Earl Storms was supposed to bring the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office together and raise morale. But since he’s taken over deputies say they’re ashamed to work for the department.

Storms decided not to swear in five deputies when he was sworn in last week. After he lied about the reason for his decision he called a special meeting. Deputies say at that meeting Storms told them “not to conduct vehicle stops or call the K9 unit.” They say Storms said traffic stops are Highway Patrol’s responsibility, but deputies say those routine traffic stops are critical in solving other crimes that have taken place throughout the county.

They say Storms also ordered all radar equipment removed from the cars, but the Sheriff’s Office uses taxpayer money to train deputies how to use radar and maintain the equipment.

Since the meeting deputies we spoke with say they have not had any contact with the sheriff and that “Prentis Benston and Herman Dunn are running the department.” The deputies say communication has shutdown within the department and squads don’t talk to each other because they do not know who they can trust. They were told not to talk to anyone outside of the department and say Storms threatened to fire them if they did. With little communication throughout the department and officers not allowed to do their regular jobs, deputies say, “Right now Bladen County is a criminal’s paradise.”

The deputies say since Storms took over as sheriff, it has hurt their relationship with other law enforcement agencies and residents throughout the county.

We invite any deputy willing to talk to contact us so we can continue digging up new information.

59 Comments

  • Guest 1999 says:

    There are two things for sure. First, Prentice Benson will be the next sheriff. Secondly, Storms is getting something out of it all. Face it, people like this get what they want… period. Short of all out war in the county and or intervention from the state, you might as well get used to it. Underhanded people learn how to work the system and get what they want.

  • Bladen County citizen says:

    Just what we didn’t need to tell the criminals here in Bladen, that it is a criminals paradise. Now they think they will be able to get away with anything as if they don’t already. I only have one thing to say about that. They better not come to my house or I will take matters into my own hands. As of now we still have “the right to bear arms” and we are not afraid to use them. If our sheriff department is not doing their jobs maybe they all need to be replaced. You are hired and paid to protect the people. No matter who you have to answer to, you still have a job to do.

  • Citizen says:

    This has got to be the absolute WORST for Bladen County! Not only is the sheriff’s race racially charged, now you have a Mother-in-law councilmember, or excuse me, “Dr Mother-in-law”, a politically inept Sheriff, and a “Chief Deputy” who’s allowing this destruction of the county! Not to mention disparaging remarks about the State Police? Are you serious??? You might not like them, but keep your pie hole shut and act professional at least! You represent (whether we want it or not) our county!

    How much did it cost to install the equipment that was taken out of the vehicles? How much will it cost us taxpayers to re-install it? Because that’s whats going to happen when everyone realizes how unsafe we are now and raises a stink over it. Thanks Storm, thanks Bentson, you’ve both really done wonders for our county, and this change only took a week! Wow, our Pres has taken so much longer to try to do what you’ve done so fast! Thank goodness there are people that will stand up to whats going on up there, too bad we’re falling apart so fast down here.

  • fireguy says:

    That’s exactly what WWAY does. Dig up garbage! I visited the Sheriff’s office yesterday and Storms was where he normally is, in his office! Benston was at the front desk for operations and Dunn was conducting a victim interview. It is exactly this type of irresponsible Jerry Springer type reporting that keeps the turmoil going on in Bladen County. I will give Gary Edwards some credit, At least he had the guts to identify himself and guess what. Contrary to popular thought, he still has a job. These young hot shots are just upset because they could not make the cut for highway patrol and now there little traffic stop power trip has been taken away. If these reporters did proper research they would find out that the Sheriff’s office primary responsibility is to serve civil papers, operate the jail and answer emergency calls, all task that can be done quicker and more efficiently now that they won’t be running tags and sitting in traffic court. I think that the worst that citizens will see is a quicker response to emergency calls. Finally; these allegations that relationships with other departments have been jeapordized. Come on people! The Sheriff has only been in control for a little over a week, hardly enough time to reasonably gauge any type of relationship strain and if reporter would quit circling like vultures he could really get to work. Storms is a retired 4 term Sheriff with an untarnished record and I can assure citizens that no one control’s Storms.

  • dudley do right says:

    I TO AM A DEPUTY MR. FIREGUY. YOU CREDIT GARY EDWRDS FOR PUTTING HIS NAME OUT THERE BUT NOT THE BRAVE ONES WHO TALKED. WHY DON’T YOU PUT YOUR NAME OUT THERE INSTEAD OF JUST FIRE GUY, WOW. I THINK THESE DEPUTIES ARE VERY BRAVE FOR STANDING UP FOR THEIR FELLOW DEPUTIES. IF THEY HAD NOT DONE THIS THEN WHO WOULD?I GUESS THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN ARGUE THE FACT ARE DEPUTIES AND EMPLOYEES IN THE DEPARTMENT. IF YOU DO NOT WORK THERE THEN YOU DO NOT KNOW SO BEST THING I CAN TELL YOU IS TO KEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT AND GO FIGHT YOUR LITTLE FIRES AND LEAVE THE REAL THINGS TO THE BIG BOYS.I CAN AND HAVE DONE YOUR JOB CAN YOU DO MINE? I GUESS THE REAL QUESTION IS COULD YOU WALK A DAY IN MY SHOES?

  • Guest says:

    Sounds like you’ve never been in law enforcement. I’ve worked with this sheriff’s deptartment. While traffic stops are not the primary duty of deputies, every deputy knows that when it’s late ant night, the call volume is low and it’s too late to serve papers, that’s the optimum time to stop suspicious vehicles because it bears fruit – more often than not the driver has a suspended license, or no insurance, false tags, an outstanding warrant, or driving drunk, or there are drugs in the vehicle.
    I recommend you make sure your brain is loaded before you shoot off your mouth.

  • Guest 101 says:

    Edwards took a medical leave after his comments. He can’t be fired on medical leave.

  • Guest for the day says:

    Guess you did not have the guts to identify youself ‘fireguy’

  • Guest says:

    Since Earl Storms came in things have went from bad to worse. The commissioners should have chosen someone who wasn’t supporting either party. Storms was supporting Prentis and it was pretty obvious when you pass by his house and he has a Prentis sign in his yard. These deputies are doing good things for this county. If all they are supposed to do is serve papers then who’s responsiblity is it to get the drugs off the street? the firemen?! lol! Fireguy is going to keep messing around until gets burned. I think you might have inhaled to much smoke fighting fires. Keep fighting fires while we taxpayers fight for what is right!!!!!! Billy it’s looking good for you!!!!!!

  • Guest says:

    Mr Fireguy, you refer to these guys as Hot Shots, well you obviously don’t know any of them or have never worked with them at all. I am sure you know a few and I could probably guess which ones so to your statement.

    There isn’t one of the so called Hot Shots that would charge a 16 year old child for being sexualy assaulted by not only a family member but someone a lot older just because they can hid behind the letter of the law to do so. Then turn around and have this CHILD arrested while at school.

    These guys have enough common sense to know that is not how a sex crimes case is handled.

    Obviously there is a investigator that is still empoloyeed there that does not have this common sense. That investigator was a major Benston supporter which is the reason her “record” didn’t need to be looked at by Earl Storms.

    So I will take any of these “Hot Shot” road guys over someone like her any day.

    I commend the deputies who spoke out for what they did, it took a lot of courage, and I understand why you can not reveal your identity. My prayers go out to you. And thank you for saying something.

  • watchyoursix says:

    These officers don’t want to lose their jobs, thats why they aren’t talking out in the open. Not that many jobs around here ya’ know. Its called a “recession”. Use your brain….

  • Guest says:

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why they don’t speak on camera they don’t want to lose their jobs like the others did duh! It’s heading towards being a criminals paradise if yall don’t push to have Storms put out and if you vote Benston in!

  • Guest says:

    It’s been a criminal paradise for years now.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    so many can speak off camera but not be of sufficient character to be open? Why are there generalities but no specifics?

    Hard to believe the county has become a “criminal’s paradise” in less than 2 weeks. But if the Highway Patrol is lazy and the Deputies are not doing their job, is it time for the law abiding citizens to strap on their shooting irons; load up the shotguns; and protect their own life and property?

    Has anyone heard of the SBI or the Attorney General’s office?

    County Commissioners, if this is true, you place the County and yourselves, individually at risk for litigation when the first person is hurt or the first break in occurs.

    Better talk to competent legal counsel.

  • citizen says:

    I have known Mr. Billy my whole life unlike some of the people writing these comments. He has always been nice and even gone out of his way to say hello. I think before you place judgement on this man you should get to know him, he is a fine fellow.In my opinion he would make a great sheriff I mean look what we have to choose from. You have a lying sheriff now and the democratic winner who is letting earl run his image in the dirt. Mr. Benston if you don’t have the spine to stand up for yourself then how will you lead a department.I would feel more comfortable with Mr. Ward running the sheriffs office than anyone of the other guys.If you gave Earl a chance after sixteen years away then why not give Mr. Ward a chance. Everyone has skeletons in the closet so why don’t we just leave them there.

  • Guest says:

    HAHAHA! Yes there is a lot more to being sheriff than working traffic and teaching school. There’s also a lot more to being sheriff than sitting in an office signing off on background checks for ride alongs! What kind of stressful situations has Benston been in? How do we know that HE can handle the stress of the position?!

  • Guest says:

    Do you have the answers to the questions?

    How long did Ward wear the badge as a traffic officer for the state?

    Why did he leave traffic and go to work as an instructor at Salemburg?

    As others have stated, Ward is a friendly enough guy, from a good family. There are some unanswered questions here that need to be addressed. One of them is, can he handle the stress of being sheriff. There is much more to that position than working traffic and teaching school.

  • Guest says:

    WWAY didn’t make a mockery out of Bladen County the people in it who run it did! Now go vote and clean house!

  • Guest11221 says:

    This may be the way you, Andy(Storms), Barney(Benston), and Clara(Ms. Blanks) may want your county to police but I am sure it is not the way the majority do. You are suppose to be a full service sheriff’s office. That means you police the entire county for all infractions whether they are criminal, civil, and yes traffic. Do you realize how many other crimes and offenses are prevented when a good traffic enforcement is in place. No, I am sure you do not. Please tell Goober to make sure he checks the air in your tires at the filling station. Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest says:

    Storms brought peace to the department? Really? LMAO! Does this look like peace to you? Was it the media who held a gun to his head and made him speak from multiple sides of his mouth? Storms spoke on camera; he’s contradicted himself – or perhaps you didn’t see that part. I guess it’s hard to see the world with your head up your @$$

  • Guest says:

    If you are a life long resident then obviously you are about the same age as the sheriff. Secondly, things have changed since the 40’s and the sheriff’s office has to update equipment and technology in the modern day society. I would rather know that in their down time that they were working whether it be stopping cars or conducting traffic stops than just sitting in their car drinking coffee. Storms can’t spell peace much less create peace. Leave the reporting skills to WWAY because your interview with Prentis is completely false unlike what WWAY has reported. Thanks!

  • Margaret Hancock says:

    First and foremost, I would like to say I am a life long resident of Bladen County. The mockery you guys have made our county is ridiculous! Sherriff Storms has not done anything that any other sheriff in the state hasn’t done before. The county commissioners brought him in to promote peace in the department, and he did just that! The news media is what has caused the chaos! Of course, anytime someone is fired, friends and families are upset, but is that any reason to drag our county into the mud? I feel safe every night. I know many of the deputies, detectives, support staff, and dispatchers very well, and I know they are doing the best for our county. Maybe if they weren’t spending time doing interviews and defending themselves, they could do their JOB!
    Secondly, look up the definition of a sheriff’s deputy job. From my research they are to: investigate complaints, emergency response, patrol and police neighborhoods, resolve disputes, arrest suspects, criminal investigations, and execute warrants. Did you see “pull over” any where in there? Yes, I am sure that if they see someone traveling at an irate speed they would pull them or immediately contact the highway patrol to intervene. However, I have NEVER received a speeding ticket from a deputy, and I have had a few. If they want to be a traffic enforcer they should have went to the state highway patrol.
    In addition, from the people I have spoken with inside the department Prentis is NOT running the show, because all of the new rules are from the Sheriff directly. This comes down to good ole boy politics. All you guys have done is make Bladen County unsafe now, by publishing these biased and outlandish reports. Thank you WWAY for making Bladen County a playground for the idiots!

  • Guest says:

    Mr. Ward has a FaceBook page with his telephone number and other contact info. He will be more than glad to answer any of your questions. Mr. Benston has never worked the streets or done investigations. He even quit BLET due to the physical part of the training at one point. What kind of stress has he been under, other than how to clean up his campaign and keep other people from ruining his chances at being Sheriff. Could he handle Highway Patrol School back in the 1970’s when they put you in a boxing ring and told you not to stop? Did he get a Master’s Degree and graduate Magna Cum Laude? Was he voted Top Cop in his BLET class? Was he head of the Criminal Justice Dept. on the Community College level? Ask Mr. Ward yourself and he will even meet you and talk to you in person. Vote Mr. Ward for Sheriff in November and feel free to contact him yourself.

  • Informed says:

    It’s my understanding that Ward retired form the Highway Patrol, all though I could be wrong.

  • Guest2010 says:

    Did he retire? He didn’t work for them long enough to retire.

    Think about it, OK?

    If he is drawing any type of state pension, it was for reasons other than length of time served. We need to be careful. The sheriff’s job is very stressful.

  • Wardsupporter says:

    Mr. Ward retired in 1979 from the HP and then went on to get a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Worked for the Community College system for many years and the Trooper’s Association for 14 years. He now works for the Warsaw Police Dept.

  • Guest says:

    If you are so concerned about his retirement situation just go ask him YOURSELF. I have found that Mr. Ward is very open and honest and willing to talk to anyone about hi life. Asking the public or anyone here is not going to get the straight answers, you have to get that from the man himself.

    Also, ANYONE who works in the law enforcement line of work ALL have to deal with a great amount of stress on a regular basis that is the reason that many officers rely on each other for support and I know that Mr Ward will not only support the officers but also come to them for support when needed. And at the same time sounds like the situation in Bladen County right now is to stressful, Mr Ward is handling that very well, where there are others that are not.

    Last, Sheriff Bunn was given a plaque the other night and where was Prentis Benston?? This man has no moral character to not even show up and he being the democratic candidate, and had worked for Bunn for so many years. I know no one from the department was there. I also know the 5 that were fired were not there also but in reality who could blame them for staying away from the usless commissioners. But again where was Benston?? Some sheriff he will make, mo moral character, no backbone, and only a “PUPPET” to Meeker and Blanks.

  • Aunt Bee says:

    Let me correct myself. Storms TRIED to promote peace in the department. If you were knowledgable you would know that because of the political race there was extreme turmoil in the department. Canidate on both sides states they knew they would be fired if the other one won. In my educated opinion, Storms did exactly what he thought needed to be done. What would you have done in his place. Patted everyone on the back, give them lollipops, and say, “Play nice.” Come on! Do I agree with the way it has been handled, No, but if you truly read my post you would see that IN MY OPINION, it has been made a mockery by the media. But then again you presume I am old and unintelligent so I will let you have your opinion, but I probably know a lot more than you realize.

  • Guest2020 says:

    I agree with what you said and I don’t think the media would have put this much time into it, if Storms hadn’t given multiple explanations for what he did.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    How about showing you have some stones?

    Re-read my post low brow.

    Get the Attorney General of the SBI involved. It is an election year; get the local Senator & Representative involved.

    But No; that might solve the problem. Then the local posters would have to search for something else on which to post rumor or innuendo.

  • rolling eyes says:

    Oh yes, get the SBI involved since Storms’ daughter works for the SBI. I bet that will accomplish alot. Some people are already trying to contact the attorney general and others. Just because someone is not right out there in the spotlight does not mean they are not brave ennough to take a stand. Some deputies have had their own families threatend with retribution if they speak out. It’s one thing to put yourself at risk but quite another to put your family in the line of fire.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    re-read my post. Get Roy Cooper involved. Get the Governor involved; she could hang out on a working vacation at White Lake.

    But no, then the problem might be solved. Then, nothing to gossip or innuendo about.

  • vol says:

    You’re assuming Storms’ supporters even have a brain

  • bladencounty says:

    AUNT BEE I GUESS YOU ARE NOT USE TO STANDING UP FOR WHATS RIGHT!!! YOU HAVE TO BE A SNOB FOR MAKING THAT COMMENT ABOUT THE DRIVE THROUGH.I CAN PROBABLY FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE SUPPORTING. I WORK FOR BLADEN COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE. I CHOSE TO GET INTO LAW ENFORCEMENT TO DO JUCTICE FOR THE CITIZENS THAT WERE NOT ABLE TO STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES TO THE CRIMINALS. I ALSO TOOK A OATH TO ALWAYS UPHOLD THE TRUTH.THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO KNOW THE CHANGES THAT ARE TAKING PLACE INSIDE THE DEPARTMENT BECAUSE EVIDENTALLY YOU THE PUBLIC CANT GET IT FROM THE UPPER BRASS AT THE SHERIFF OFFICE.YOU NEVER COMPLAINED WHEN WE ARRESTED A CONVICTED FELON WITH A HISTORY OF VIOLENT BREAKING AND ENTERINGS THAT WAS ARMED DRIVING IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD LOOKING AT YOUR HOUSE TO BREAK INTO. SO WHY ARE YOU COMPLAINING NOW? SO IF YOU ARE SO HIGH ON YOUR HORSE AND NEED TO VOICE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT HOW I SHOULD DO MY JOB. COME ON IN AND GET AN APPLICATION I CAN ASSURE YOU THERE ARE 5 OPENINGS!!!!!!! AND MAKE A CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE OF THE DEPARTMENT INSTEAD OF ADDING USELESS GOSSIP.

    GOD BLESS EVERYONE

  • Guest says:

    I ALSO WORK IN THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE.I’M BEGINNING TO WONDER WHAT’S RIGHT OR WRONG ANY MORE. WE HAVE A DEPARTMENT THAT IS STILL TORN AND CAN’T HEAL DUE TO ALL THE B.S. MEDIA AND COMMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN SLUNG FROM ONE TV STATION TO SEVERAL NEWSPAPERS STATE WIDE AND EVEN FURTHER.
    I “LOVED” MY JOB AND NOW IT’S COME TO THE POINT I HATE GETTING UP IN THE MORNING OR AFTERNOON TO TRY AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE. IT’S NOT THE SHERIFF’S FAULT…THE COMMISHIONERS CAN BE THANKED FOR THAT. I SURELY DON’T AGREE WITH EVERY DECISION THAT HAS BEEN MADE SINCE JULY 6TH, BUT I SURE DON’T DISAGREE WITH ALL OF THEM EITHER. IT’S MIXED EMOTIONS FOR ME AND AS IT IS,,IT’S SOMETHING I HAVE TO LIVE WITH UNTIL NOVEMBER. I’M DISGUSTED AND EMBARRASSED TO KNOW THAT I PUT ON A BADGE THAT EXEMPLIFIES HONOR, INTEGRITY AND CHARACTER AND THE PUBLIC THAT I WANT TO SERVE IS THE VERY ONES THAT ARE HELPING TO BRING THIS DEPARTMENT TO IT’S KNEES. NO ONE HAS GIVEN ANYONE ANYTIME TO SHOW THAT THIS DEPARTMENT CAN SUCCEED AND CHANGE AND MOVE ON. IF EARL STORMS LIED THEN HE LIED. HE WON’T BE HERE IN A FEW MORE MONTHS AND THEN YOU HAVE TO DECIDE BETWEEN WHAT YOU CALL A COWARD(BENSTON) AND INSTABILITY(WARD) AS YOUR SHERIFF. THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS IS YOURS TO DECIDE. I’M NOT GOING TO SIT HERE AND PROCLAIM THAT ANYONE IS PERFECT ENOUGH TO RUN THIS DEPARTMENT, BECAUSE IF THEY WERE, IT WOULD BE JESUS HIMSELF.JUST LEAVE US ALONE UNTIL NOVEMBER SO AT LEAST FOR THE NEXT 4 MONTHS WE CAN PROVE TO YOU THAT WE CARE FOR THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTY. FOR ONCE IT WOULD BE NICE TO HEAR FROM SOME OF YOU TO TELL US TO HOLD OUR HEADS UP AND CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR YOU, OUR CITIZENS REGARDLESS OF YOUR DIFFERENCES WITH EACH OTHER AND WHO WOULD BE THE BETTER SHERIFF. THINK ABOUT NOW!!!!!!!!

  • Guest says:

    I totally agree….. guys we have got to come together and stick together to get through this. You know a lot of us love this county and the people in it. Many of us young guys could have left to work at other counties for more money and benefits,but we chose to come back home and work in our home county. I still believe that we are doing a great job!!! Sure some say that crime is up….and they are right. There have been 4 officers on a squad since the seventies and we still have the same number of officers on the road,only thing is that the call volume as tripled in the past years. Guys we are doing a great joob with what we have to work with. Hang in there it will get better…citizens of the county….you need to stand behind the guys that are still here, if we leave then you have no one to protect this county. We have great gentlemen and women at this office and they all need the support of the citizens no matter who is sheriff,because they love this county and believe that they are making a difference for the cicitzens…..or at least I do…

  • Buddy says:

    Ok, I’m not from Bladen County, I only came across this website because I am looking for Police work, but Haven’t decided on where in the state I want to live and work. I’m from Cumberland County, so I’m no carpet bagger….anyway back to the issues you guys/gals have raised.

    Taking away or telling Sheriffs Deputies not to conduct traffic stops, sounds logical in theory. And I can see where my Liberal mind would say, your right, traffic violations are really not in your area of interests, even though you do possess the power to do so leave it to the State Highway Patrol.

    However, it also makes total sense to pull over a speeder, or a tail light infraction, so on and so forth, at prime hours like say, Midnight to 0400, because chances are, the driver is impaired or transporting drugs, ….probably more impaired drivers than anything.

    Now for the fellow that said he was pulled over and was sober and doing nothing wrong, you said you were let go. So, since you were not breaking the law, he let you go!

    I don’t think I would complain about this if it happened to me, hell it has happened on many occasions, but even I know why he is doing what he is doing. Not many Sheriffs Deputy’s will pull you over for a minor infraction like a tail light or speeding 5 MPH over the limit in the middle of the day, but at 0200 in the morning it’s a good time to do “police work” even though it may not be your sole purpose as a Sheriffs Deputy your still “Police”!

    So I’m kind of split on it, I’ll have to give it more thought, but I must say, it has made me reexamine a thought process that was previously set in stone.

    Sounds like a lot of drama in the sheriff’s office there in Bladen, maybe I should go there, sounds interesting! So, watch out! I may be pulling you over in the future!

    Any Police in Bladen County that might want to give me some guidance and advice about” Policing in Bladen”, Id much appreciate it.

  • Aunt Bee says:

    I thank you for the Aunt Bee nickname! I will take it as a compliment and when you see me on the streets of Bladen County you are more than welcome to refer to me as that. At least in Mayberry they didn’t slander their sheriff or deputies and they promoting peace. Why announce to world that the radars have been removed? That is like saying, “Hey, I don’t have a gun, just go ahead and rob that store.” Come on now. In everyone’s dreams we would go back to live in a Mayberry town, but the reality is we don’t. What’s traffic enforcement, pulling over young girls and asking for their numbers. If you want to talk slander I can do just that, and by the way when I stop at the drive-thru next time I will thank you for offering me fries.

  • Guest says:

    I KNOW the answers to your questions. I have known Billy for years. I KNOW that he risked his life doing the job he was sworn in to do, protecing the citizens of Bladen County. You are hilarious. Why don’t YOU find the answers to those questions yourself

  • Guest2010 says:

    I feel much safer with Mr. Storms than I would with the former state trooper who is running for sheriff. The sheriff’s job is very stressful. Ask Mr. Ward why he didn’t make a career with the Highway Patrol. Ask him under what circumstances he left the Patrol. Inquire of him the number of altercations he had during his short time with the state and the investigation results.

    I like Ward. He is a very friendly guy but can he handle the stress that goes with the job of county sheriff? Gotta be careful here. Remember, once a sheriff is sworn in, he is locked in for four years, unlike the state which can release those who don’t measure up.

    Find out the answers to the above questions before you commit yourself.

  • Guest 2445 says:

    Unless Earl decided to shoot Benson and run for sheriff in November, I don’t think you understand the questions well enough to be posing them.

  • Guest says:

    If you have nothing to hide, then why get nervous just because a deputy is behind you? Is it okay with you that drunk drivers are not being stopped by the deputies because the “sheriff” has told them not to? I sure hope I’m not on the road at that time!

  • Guestsuspicious says:

    “the optimum time to stop suspicious vehicles because it bears fruit”

    Are you saying you’ve profiled “suspicious” vehicles that haven’t actually broken a law yet because it may “bear fruit”. It sounds to me like you profile people, then run up behind them in such a manner as to make them nervous so they may weave a little as a reason to stop them. Your ” more often than not” may be violating the rights of the “not” so you can get some “fruit”.

    I say this because I’ve been stopped for a pin light out on my vehicle. They then wanted to search my vehicle because I had long hair I.M.O. I don’t drink or do drugs and didn’t let them search the vehicle. After seeing I wasn’t scared or intimidated, was let go with no warning ticket. The burnt out pin light was just a reason to stop me and not a public safety issue.

  • Guest says:

    I’m more than happy to clarify it for you. Then after I do, I’ll ask you to explain what you mean by “profiling”.
    The key word is “suspicious” vehicle – not just any vehicle. Probable cause is not required to stop a vehicle, an officer only needs reasonable suspicion. It is illegal to speed, fail to observe traffic control signs & devices, or to drive with improperly working equipment such as headlights or tail lights burned out (anyone with common sense knows how dangerous this is at night), even a license plate lamp so our plates can be visible at night. Such vehicles are stopped, and if there are no additional offenses discovered during the course of the stop, the officer has the discretion to write the operator a citation, or issue a warning ticket or a verbal warning. Very often, in stopping such vehicles we find the driver to be impaired, or in posession of drugs, or is driving with a suspended or revoked license, or has a warrant, or is driving with fictitious tags or no insurance. We get them off the streets to protect you; why would you object to this? And what officer ever said to you “I pulled you over because you have long hair.”? When I make a decision to stoop a vehicle at night for a light out, I can’t even see the driver from my car, and it’s from behind the wheel of my patrol car that I make the decision to stop the vehicle, and that is based soley on the offense or infraction, not on the demographics of the drivers I can hardly see.

  • Guestsuspicious says:

    Police officers have wide discretion as to who they stop for a traffic violation. Not only are police officers able to make traffic stops based on countless offenses, they also hold the decision-making power as to whom they will ticket for traffic offenses. While allowing police officers discretion in whom they stop and ticket may be common and legal, this power may also be abused.

    Many of people have been pulled for a pretextual traffic stop. No the office didn’t say he pulled me over for having long hair, but asking me if I had drugs in the vehicle and if he could search it told me otherwise. I was profiled.

    I don’t object to you doing your job and thank you for it, I just know that there are bad apples in every bunch.

  • Guestsuspicious says:

    …at an intersection, my window down. The light that was burned out had just done so without my knowlegde. It wasn’t a front or rear light but one on the side.

    “it sounds like you set yourself up to be stopped”. Nah, I just got off work and was headed home.

    I have family and friends in law enforcement and think they do a great job over all, but in this case, the officer went straight to wanting to search my vehicle. You or anyone else can’t convince me that profiling people because of their looks or what they drive doesn’t play a part in traffic stops, I’ve heard it from their mouths.

  • GSK756 says:

    During the day no officers have their radar set exactly on the speed limit as a matter of routine.

    At Midnight, however, many drop their radar to the exact posted speed limit.

    That establishes probable cause to stop anyone exceeding that speed, and trust me when I say that the hours between Midnight and 4 A.M. are “prime fishing hours.” According to most estimates every third vehicle on the road between those hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning is being driven by someone who has been drinking.

    So you stop a person for speeding, use your senses and experience to ascertain if they’re drunk, high, or just heading home after the swing shift, and act accordingly. If he or she isn’t loaded, you let them go with a warning to slow dowm.

    In your example you state that you had a light burned out. That sounds far less a case of police harrassment than it sounds like you set yourself up to be stopped. You see, YOU don’t decide what’s a “public safety issue.” Chapter 20 of the NCGS does that, and when you violate it the officer has a perfectly legitimate reason to stop you.

    BTW, how in the world can an officer see you to judge your appearance when you’re nothing more than approaching headlights on the opposite side of the highway?

  • Guest says:

    So then; what you describe does not appear to be what Storms wants to stop. When does it take the use of a radar in order to accomplish your described goal? Just saying. Maybe you should rap your brain around the complexity of the whole issue before engaging.

  • Guest9999 says:

    I think if the Commissioners will not step in to “investigate” these circumstances of what is going on maybe a Judge or the Attorney General should order an SBI investigation that interm Sheriff Storms is failing his duties and ordering deputies not to perform their sworn duties. This matter is continuing for too long!

  • Guest says:

    Drugs and drug sales have put money in the pockets of deputies for years. I was busted on felony drug charges years ago, the ‘witness’ could not identify me until they held the folder up with my name on it. When I was taken to a back room for questioning, I was told by one of the people who did not get sworn back in, that I could continue to operate if I would sell for them and no one else. How is that for upholding the law? Evidently the FBI was aware because they attempted to get me to help them build a case against this officer….which I refused to do because of my own legal troubles at the time.

  • Guest2010 says:

    If Mr. Ward likes law enforcement, why did he not make a career with the highway patrol? How long did he wear a HP badge? Under what circumstances did he leave the HP?

    Maybe this is where WWAY needs to be looking instead of harassing the sheriff.

  • Ward4Sheriff says:

    I stated in past comments that gangs and drugs would run rampant in Bladen County with Storms and/or Benston in control and now you have heard it from some of their own. Do not take my word for it, but someone who has been there. Benston is slowly losing the fight and check out the online poll that bladenjournal.com did to see the results. Vote Billy Ward for Sheriff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bladencounty says:

    I CAN SMELL B.S. WRITTEN ALL OVER YOUR STATEMENT. DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT THE F.B.I. CONTACTED YOU ABOUT THAT. F.B.I DOESN’T HANDLE THAT KIND OF INVESTIGATION.AND FIRST OFF IF A FEDERAL AGENCY CALLED YOU ABOUT HELPING THEM OUT WITH A “DIRTY COP” I’M PRETTY SURE THEY WOULD HAVE MADE YOUR CHARGES DISAPPEAR. AND SOME ONE IN YOUR POSITION IN LIFE THAT HAS TO HAVE FELONY AMOUNT OF NARCOTICS AROUND THEM TELLS ALOT ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER AND MOTIVE TO TRY TO DISCREDIT SOME OFFICERS. SO GO BACK TO PREYING ON PEOPLE THAT HAVE AN ADDICTION AND KEEP YOUR REMARKS UNLESS SOME WHAT FACTUAL TO YOUR SELF. I PROMISE THAT WILL NOT BE THE LAST TIME YOU WILL BE ARRESTED.SO GO BACK TO YOUR CAN AND LIGHTER

  • Guest says:

    First let me say, typing in all capitals is the equivalent to screaming on the internet. “lower your voice’ and post like a reasonable person.

    Let me also say that this is all the truth, I actually have letters from the attorney general stopping the Feds from leveraging me to help them with a ‘double jeorpardy charge’ using the same drug conviction I had served time over. As far as helping the cops, at the time I was young and still full of anger and would not do ANYTHING to help the Feds……they investigated me for international trafficking…..so they should be able to investigate their own…..right on down the line to the County Cops.

    And to accuse me of having an addiction….please. I straightened my life out years and years ago. I retired from one of the biggest chemical plants in the area (they won’t let you work there with drugs in your system and they do random testing). I am also very active in my Church. As far as preying, don’t do it but, I will pray for you. Have a blessed day and may the Lord help you control your anger and direct it in a positive manner.

  • Guest says:

    That statement is simply the work of the Benston campaign. This is the type smear tactics that were used during the campign process and are still being used. There is no doubt that this is a pile of crap, and has Benston stink all over it.

  • Guest says:

    Let me start out by saying that i am a deputy sheriff. Our primary job is to get civil papers and warrants served, but that still leaves the drugs and crimes that could be cleaned up by working traffic. We are not out here trying to play highway patrol we just like doing our job, (THE TOTAL PACKAGE). If you restrtict me to just serving civil papers then why did i take an oath to protect and serve the citizens of this county if i can not give them 100%. I don’t know what the future holds then this county is in for a rude awakening. I also heard the comment just do your job no matter what you have to face, people if that involves me losing my job then i have not done you or my family any good. i am not telling you i will not protect you but our hands are kind of tied. So if you want (THE TOTAL PACKAGE) get Earl Storms out of here.

  • Aunt Bee says:

    Just because “your a life long resident” doesn’t mean your are old! I guess that is your narrow minded opinion of me! My “interview” as you call it with Prentis is the truth. Do you work there? Do you have insider information? Well if I am lying then correct me. Till then state the facts. Look at the statistics for department, then come at me. So basically you agree that we should announce to world things that need to be handled privately within the department? I guess you air all your dirty laundry with the best of them.

  • Guest says:

    Mr. Storms is correct. When he was sheriff the crime rate wasn’t a fraction as high as it is now. Bladen County is now dubbed “the lawless county” and has been for quite some time. The Highway Patrol should do their job and the deputies should do theirs – concentrate on ALL crime – including property crimes. The crime rate is way too high here for the amount of people that live here.

    The DA’s office has something to do with that also. They are way too easy on felons. The deputies work hard to clean up the county and as soon as the criminal stands before the judge, he’s back on the street. The sames ones are arrested over and over again – what happened to 3 strikes and you’re out?

    IT IS SHAMEFUL. OUR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT NEEDS AN AWAKENING. WE WANT A CLEAN COUNTY AGAIN AND I SPEAK FOR EVERYONE HERE. CITIZENS OF BLADEN COUNTY NEED TO BAN TOGETHER TO WIPE OUT THIS HORRIBLE PROBLEM – SPEAK OUT IF YOU SEE A CRIME- THERE HAS TO BE A SOLUTION.

    WE ALSO WANT ALL CRIMES TO BE REPORTED IN OUR LOCAL PAPER LIKE THEY USED TO BE. SOMEBODY MAY HAVE SEEN SOMETHING THAT MAY HELP IN SOLVING THEM.

  • Guest says:

    How come none of this surprises me I want to know what the residents of the county are doing to push this big nasty issue on to the state level. Apparently the whole system in Bladen County is corrupt and dirty and fresh blood needs to be brought in to investigate these issues! Funny Blanks who is Benstons ex mother in law or mother in law can’t remember which was bust for trying to vote twice oh but wait she was just trying to check to make sure the polls worked properly yeah whatever Ms.Blanks the entire county isn’t ignorant I hope there is a high enough percentage that isn’t that stupid and they vote your lying corrupt self out of office along with whoever supports your aggenda. Benston I thought was okay until now and well not I don’t think he is what Bladen County needs as well! Earl Storms supported Benston and now all of a sudden the one who ran against Benston and his in house supporters are fired? Yeah political agenda deffantly at play here in good old Bladen County! Now the rest of the force is told not to stop people not to use the K9’s heck yeah Storms handed over the county to the criminal element I bet they are all having a blast right now! And he hasn’t been seen since Wednesday’s meeting umm doesn’t he have to show up for work? This mess is one hot mess someone needs to take care of and I hope that hatch act is being violated by Benston’s new posistion nothing would make me happier at the moment because I’m sure some of Bladen County members will only vote for him because of the color of his skin which is just wrong! I hope the voters wake up, educate theirselves on their choices and make the best decision they can make for Bladen County because right now it’s going to hell in a handbasket!

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