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ONLY ON 3: Sheriff's deputy says "Bladen County is a criminal's paradise"

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Sheriff's Deputy ... "Bladen County is a criminal's paradise"
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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.

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

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duhh...

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....

Ever hear of Standing Tall?

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.

Oh yes, get the SBI involved

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.

Then

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.

You're assuming Storms'

You're assuming Storms' supporters even have a brain

JUST STUPID!

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!

you must not understand

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!

Aunt Bee

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.

Storms brought peace to the

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 @$$

I agree

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.

Let me correct myself.

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.

Listen Aunt Bee!!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I gotta say, Im split!

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.

Thank you

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.

AUNT BEE please

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

I ALSO WORK IN THE SHERIFF'S

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!!!!!!!!

i agree

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...

WWAY didn't make a mockery

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

What I Have Been Saying

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Drugs and drug sales have

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.

That statement is simply the

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.

TO THE CONVICTED DRUG FELON

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

First let me say, typing in

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.

Why?

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.

Ward Question

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.

It's my understanding that

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

Ward Retired??

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.

retired??

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.

questions

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.