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ONLY ON 3: After meeting to "cover my ass," Sheriff still can't get story straight

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: After meeting to "cover my ass," Sheriff still can't get story straight

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) - There's still controversy and confusion in Bladen County on what's really going on in the Sheriff's Office. WWAY sat down once again with interim Sheriff Earl Storms hoping to clear things up, but we found out it wasn't that easy.

Tuesday Storms was sworn in as interim Sheriff. As part of the ceremony storms would then swear in all his deputies, but five deputies were not sworn in. Many in Bladen County, including commissioners, say the reason those specific five were not sworn in is because they all supported a former sheriff's candidate.

Since the day he took office Storms has given several different reasons why former Sheriff candidate Eric Bryan, three fellow deputies who supported him and Chief Dep. Phillip Little were not sworn in, leaving them with no job.

"A lot of the men, I have not been able to get acquainted with them," Storms told us Tuesday. Storms first told us he didn't know much about the deputies and wanted to know more before he swore them in. But on Wednesday, when we asked the same question, Storms said it was because they failed to fill out an application, which he said everyone else sworn in Tuesday had done, but Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Edwards said that's not true. He said Storms called the whole office for a special meeting Wednesday night to have everyone fill out an application. We asked Edwards if he was told at the meeting why he had to fill out an application.

"Yes," he said. "The Sheriff, the interim Sheriff that's acting now, said to me it's to cover his ass."

Though Storms refused to go on camera Thursday he still sat down with us. We asked if it was true that deputies were asked to fill out applications during Wednesday night's meeting.

"That's a bold face L-I-E, lie!" Storms said.

We also asked Storms to explain once again why the five deputies were not sworn in. He said again that they did not fill out applications. But in that same interview, Storms contradicted himself when we asked if it was necessary to fill out an application prior to being sworn in.

"It's necessary to fill out an application after being sworn in," Storms said.

To see which of the two different statements were true, we asked once more before our interview was over if those deputies that were sworn in on Tuesday had all filled out applications.

"Some could have been in before," Storms said. "Most of them is going to be after. There's so much going on, I can't keep up with every little thing."

We asked Storms why all the other deputies were sworn in Tuesday. He said because he still needed a force.

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.


Bladen County Sheriff Issue

I attended the meeting the Commissioners called tonight; however, I was very disappointed. What a waste of money for our county. Absolutely nothing came of the meeting. The sheriff was not even man enough to show his face. This is not a race issue as some would like to make it out to be. Look at the officer's who were not rehired. They were of different races. The main problem is the lying. Sheriff Storms said he did not rehire these five because they did not fill out an application. (Lie #1) He also stated he did not know the officers when in fact he hired and worked previously with several of the officers let go. (Lie #2) How can our county trust someone who lies? This is insane. Not rehiring the officers is not the reason Storms is in the hot seat. It is the fact that he lied. If he did not want to hire them, he should have said hey I am not hiring you. Let's just tell the truth people. This is what is wrong with our society. ANother problem I have is not giving these individuals time to find a job. So you go to work and expect to still have a job and within twenty minutes you are unemployed with a family to feed. Come on people. Have a heart. I am also disappointed with our County Commissioners. We have Mrs. Blanks on the board who has to check the system and try to vote three times. Okay, people let's face it. If it were you or myself, we would find ourselves in deep trouble. I am very proud of the members who took a stand. Mr. Storms told the commissioners he was not going to fire anyone. The first thing he did was fire five. Come on. He lied to the commissioners and some of them are condoning this by not asking for his resignation. I guess this too will be taken care of the next time these certain individuals go up for reelection. Citizens of Bladen County need to take a stand. Do we really want liars to be in charge? I am disappointed in the way things have been handled. I sure hope Mr. Benston has nothing to do with this because he will lose a lot of support. I believe Mr. Benston will make a fine sheriff for Bladen County.

Are your ratings really that low?????

You have got to be the most unprofessional "news" station I have ever observed. I notice my prior comment regarding your station was not posted nor do I expect this one to be. Regardless, I feel compelled to express my disdain for your ethics and your lack of professionalism. The only thing that makes sense to me would be you have a realtionship with someone in Bladen County that this mess has affected or you have very low ratings and feel the need to escalate an already volatile situation. It is one thing to report facts that are substantiated or to state your opinion in a forum but it is quite another to post misleading/biased headlines.


My biggest concern is that his tie needs to be 6 inches longer


maybe his belly should be 6" shorter??? I still believe that ALL law enforcement, firemen, and EMT's (yes, even administration and leadership) should have to adhere to weight and fitness standards like the US military.

Bladen County

I can't say much about Bladen County and the politics goings on but can say I ain't get'n my child support. Cause some ol knucklehead that works for the Sheriff Department keeps on tell'n my ex-husband when the BIG FOLKS are gonna be look'n for him to serve him his paperwork. When I call the Sheriff Department bout it the lady on the phone was just plum rude about'd think she had to pay the support outa her pocket. Right is Right! God Don't Like ulgy!


Has your station decided to become the TMZ of local news? What kind of news title is this? Profanity as a intro...this has got to be the most classless news station reporting on this fiasco.
Not to mention the fact you have no other statements from other officers to back up the quote, which, by the way came from the "classy" deputy Gary Edwards not Earl Storms as you are implying.
Evidently your station manager is on par with our BOC spokesperson in intelligence and couth.


I think it's about time somebody cleaned up that department because all I ever see them doing is speeding passed me with no sirens on or stopped talking to their friends. GO STORMS!

I respect everyone's

I respect everyone's comments about the Sheriff's Department because everyone does have their rights to their own opinions; however, as someone who actually works with the Department, I see things a little differently. Why? I actually see what goes on first hand which the general public does not see. Yes, Sheriff Storms has come in and made some changes, but it seems he is going to run a tight ship & that is exactly what our Department & Bladen County needs! Everyone talks how the Sheriff's Dept. needs a change -- but now that it is taking place, instead of giving the changes time to work out & make a difference, people want to make accusations toward one another. We've all seen closed door meetings during the election (some of those involved were some of the deputies let go) and the general public did not see. If someone comes in their office after the election, cleans out his office, & just leaves -- you really have to question their loyalty to the job & citizens. It is time for Bladen County citizens to realize that there really are good deputies in this Department which put their lives on the line each day for all of you & what we really need is the support of our community & time for things to settle down so the changes can work for the betterment of our County.

Earl Storms

I remember what a tight ship he ran during a drug bust when he was Sheriff and some of the drugs went missing, but then again he cannot keep up with everything.

As a former Deputy it came

As a former Deputy it came to my attention today from a Bladen County Deputy Sheriff, that was resworn Tuesday, that Sheriff Storms is removing all the radar equipment from the patrol cars, has told all the Deputies that they are not to use the computers and that he, Sheriff Storms, wants everything handwritten. He is putting all Deputies answering calls at risk of their lives by removing the computer equipment that the County bought and paid for along with the thousands of dollars that was spent to train the Deputies. To Me as a professional, I think this borders on Dementia and Mental Incompetence. The county Commissioners are resposible for the protection of ALL Deputies. Both inside and outside of the Sheriff's office. As a former Deputy, this man and these decisions scare the HELL out of me. I fear for all the Deputies and I feel that the Commissioners can surely show just cause from these decisions to request a Superior Court Judge to have Sheriff Storms removed. I feel that at any time he may ask the Deputies to turn in their Radios and just telephone each other from their cells. If this is not insanity and incompetence, then what is? Are we going to wait for a Fallen Officer to wake the commissioners up and remove this man from office NOW!!!!!!!!!!

Race? Steve Bunn's the one

Race? Steve Bunn's the one who fired the deputy,, not Earl Storms. If Earl Storms allows a deputy to live outside the county thats his business under his interim time.

The commishioners asked Earl to take the position and he did. PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

You surely don't have to have a reason to fire anyone when you are the Sheriff and actually you don't have to exlain why you did. You work at the pleasure of the Sheriff and it's been on the books several centuries. LET'S MOVE ON!!!

Bladen County mess

It is a shame that Bladen County rewards a man who has given more than 30 years of his life to the county in service at the Sheriff's office by firing him. Philip Litte, and the others had more than 70 years combined service. No one including the County Commissioners has given a reason for thier termination. County Commissioners: shame on you. Earl Storms: shame on you.
My personal belief is that Earl Storms fired these officers for the conveince of Printis Benston.

Bladen County Sheriff

Some of those who are critical of the way the Sheriffs dept Is being run should be aware of the fact that Sheriff Storms is not he one who created this situation he is just unfortunate enough to be the one trying to clean up the mess left by the outgoing Sheriff. Some of this should have been taken care of a long time ago.And by the way has anyone bothered to ask commissioner Pait why he is so upset ? Could it be because one of the officers not sworn in is his nephew!!!

"Storms is not the one who

"Storms is not the one who created this situation"? You mean Storms didn't fire 5 deputies after promising he wouldn't? He didn't lie and keep changing his story? Of course Storms created the situation - no one else fired these deputies, no one else is lying to the media and public. You're only fooling yourself.

Maybe Commissioner Pait was

Maybe Commissioner Pait was so upset because before he was sworn in, Earl Storms gave all indications that he would NOT do what he just did. Maybe Commissioner Pait doesn't like being lied to.

How did he not create this?

Storms is the one that is in charge of the Sheriff's Department. He is the one who chose not to swear in those deputies. He is the one who can't keep his story straight about why they weren't sworn in.

then deliha blanks tried to

then deliha blanks tried to vote twice because benston is her son in law, mr pait is thinking about all of those officers not just his nephew they were all good officers. so if you want to start on being related to someone dont forget benston and blanks..

Good Luck

Good luck getting him or anyone to come clean there! I don't know about the rest of yall but I like my officers and elected officals to be law abiding! Sounds like a cesspool of corruption over there in Bladen County and I think someone higher up needs to come in and clean house!

It doesn't appear to work

It doesn't appear to work out well for people who try to clean house!

race issue?



Why is this posted in response to my statement? It has nothing to do with anything I said lol