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Short-staffed for two years, Navassa PD still getting help from sheriff

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NAVASSA, NC (WWAY) -- The Navassa Police Department is understaffed with two officers on leave. To help keep the town safe Brunswick County Sheriff's deputies have been providing back-up.

Today the two agencies met to make sure there is enough coverage.

The chief of the four-man department says those officers have been out on medical leave since the beginning of 2012.

"Navassa is still getting their police services," Chief Preston Howell said. "They're still getting there calls answered. Everything is still being done like we were at full staff."

Daily operations have gone smoothly thanks to Brunswick County Sheriff's deputies, who have been providing mutual aid for nearly two years.

"If the sheriff didn't help me, I would have difficulties," Chief Howell said.

The sheriff's office says since deputies started helping with coverage, they have responded to more than 1,000 calls in Navassa.

"It's not an overburden to where we can't perform our duties," BCSO Chief Deputy Charlie Miller said. "It does add some extra time and effort, but we can handle it."

To get the police department back up to staff Chief Howell says the town is in the process of hiring more man power.

"I have four auxiliary officers who we are going to hire," he said. "Their paperwork is in Raleigh at Training and Standards, and as soon as I get their paperwork back, we can swear them in."

In the meantime, the Sheriff's Office says it will continue to assist the department for as long as needed.

The Navassa Police Department serves almost 2,000 people over an area of close to 14 square miles.

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