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HERTFORD, NC (AP) — A rural North Carolina town’s manager is taking heat for putting two top police officers back on the street before Hurricane Irene despite criminal convictions that had placed both on desk duty.

The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City reported Friday that new Hertford Town Manager Brandon Shoaf said he returned Police Chief Joe Amos and Sgt. Shawn Swindell to patrol duties during the hurricane and its aftermath.

Both were restricted to administrative assignments while they appeal misdemeanor convictions.

Amos and Swindell were convicted of assaulting a Perquimans man while on duty with the Hertford Volunteer Fire Department. The police officers received suspended jail time and unsupervised probation.

Perquimans NAACP president the Rev. Gilbert Vaughn says allowing Amos and Swindell to patrol the streets mocked the court’s ruling.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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