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.