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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Fourth of July is one of the busiest times of the year for police in Carolina Beach, but this 4th, the department is a man short.

Carolina Beach Interim Town Manager Bruce Shell says after crashing a town car and an internal audit a sergeant with the town’s police force has been suspended.

Shell says the town’s police force will soon be undergoing a complete overhaul.

“Our chief is retiring, so we’re going to have some leadership changes,” Shell said. “My view was to look at that and say, ‘What are we doing well and what can we improve on?’ So I initiated that process.”

Shell initiated it after he received tips about issues within the police department, including Sgt. Chris Chafin crashing his town-owned car on NC 210 Pender County. Sgt. Chafin has since been placed on paid administrative leave.

“The review gave me a better picture of how the department operates and gave me an opportunity to better align them for success,” Shell said.

Following Chafin’s crash and the subsequent internal audit, Shell has vowed to overhaul the town’s policies and procedures while on duty and promised to make changes not only in rules, but in personnel.

“It’s a practical thing to look at policies and procedures from time to time,” Shell said. “We looked at protocols and internal controls and checks and balances all in the name of service so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Shell says he expects a decision on Sgt. Chafin’s future with the department some time before the next town council meeting July 16.

We tried to reach Chafin today for comment, but he has not called us back.

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