make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Interim Sheriff explains why deputies were not sworn in

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Interim Sheriff explains why deputies were not sworn in

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) -- Bladen County has a new sheriff, but five fewer deputies. Former Sheriff Earl Storms was sworn in this morning as interim sheriff, but when it was time to swear in 10 deputies, five were left off the list. Storms tells WWAY he needed more time to get enough information about the deputies and could reinstate them down the road.

The list of deputies left out includes Chief Dep. Phillip Little and Eric Bryan, who narrowly lost last month's run-off for the Democratic nomination for Sheriff. Storms says he had a long talk today with Little about his future with the department.

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.


Heat in the Kitchen

Sheriff Storm is trying to clean up the mess in the department, he knows what has been taking place over the last 16 years dirty business,why would Sheriff Bunn retire now instead of waiting 5 months becauce the heat is on so you get out of the kitchen.Do the five deputies want the truth out? After the audit,the public will see the real story



Examine the facts, not the misinformation

I am SO sick of hearing the whinings of the citizens of MY county! Do any of you know the laws of our county, state, or nation? Let's review the events surrounding the Sheriff's office. Fact 1: Eric Bryan won the primary by a very small margin. In fact, the margin was not big enough to prevent a run-off (we have a law that allows that). Fact 2: Prentis Benston pulled off the win in the run-off (probably because of citizens like myself that discovered some of the wackos that were supporting Mr. Bryan and decided to change their vote--and I'm white--oh, the horror!). However, we all know the story wasn't over. Fact 3: Steve Bunn decided for whatever reason to get the hell out of Dodge and retire before his term was over (good move, can finally have some peace). Meanwhile, fact 4 came out of left field--Billy Ward pulled off the miraculous feat of getting himself on the ballot for the November election as an Independent. By the way, this is also allowable by our laws; even "Johnny Come Latelys" get a shot if the people support him. This made for a very interesting perfect storm of political events. Prentis would probably be sitting behind the desk in the Sheriff's office as we speak if Billy hadn't pulled it out. He probably would have done the same thing that Earl has, but through a twist of events, it wasn't possible for him to sit behind that desk quite yet. Then along comes Earl (read the Bladen Journal--he was appointed by a 7-2 vote of the County Commissioners, and Billy Ray Pait was one of the seven. Now that his constituents are pissed, he's back-peddling to save his own political clout--very spineless). Then Earl does what anyone sitting behind a Sheriff's desk is legally allowed to do in North Carolina; he chose not to keep some of the currently employed deputies and Phillip Little. Sure, he shouldn't have made up any stories as to why they were not kept around; my answer would have been, "Read the law. I did it because I WANTED TO and it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS." Hey, Steve did it himself to former opponents for the sheriff's offic in past elections and there was no public outcry then...hmmmmm. Enough said.

At the end of the day, I think this all comes down to race. Although the rest of the nation has made it to the 21st century, I think Bladen County is still in the early 1950s (pre-civil rights). Yeah, it seems like a white-on-white thing right now, but people are so pissed because Earl is a supporter of Prentis, who is a black man. I'm sure Earl has been called a sellout by many local closet white hood wearers. Sure, I don't know about all the backroom deals and maneuvering that had to happen to make all this happen, and I'm sure some of it would probably make me want to vomit. But PLEASE stop whining and gossiping. No laws have been violated. Get over it. Move on.

Want another fact?

So apparently you are interested in facts. Well, I have one for you that you may want to consider before you call Commissioner Pait spineless again. If anyone has a spine of steel, it is Commissioner Pait (trust me, I know him well). He is not back-tracking because of anything except for the FACT that Storms LIED to the commissioners when he gave them every indication that he (Earl) would NOT do what he just did. That's a FACT you can count on!

This is a typical "good ole

This is a typical "good ole boy" tactic. When are the citizens of Bladen County going to wake up and smell the coffee? My family and I moved here over 5 years ago and we have not stopped being completely AMAZED with the "good ole boy" things that go on in this county. (Also in the counties surrounding Bladen County.) While I understand that the people of Bladen County are "beholden" to those in power and those with the money, it is time for the average citizen of Bladen County to say NO!!! to those who yearn to return to a time long past when they could do as they pleased. Who is this fool interim sheriff to come in and fire people for no reason other than the fact that he disagrees with him? Does the counsel/commission who appointed him not have the backbone to tell him he is NOT going to trash the county on their watch? What happens when the next ELECTED sheriff comes into office? That person will do so with an undermanned department because Mr. Storms was allowed to wreak havoc in the department. I for one do not appreciate being left with an undermanned sheriff's office for even a day let alone long enough to replace the fired personnel. Storms should be removed from his appointed position and replaced with someone who truly cares about the citizens of Bladen County and not about his place in the county. When I next need a member of the sheriff's office to handle a matter for me and there is not enough personnel to do so I am going to EXPECT Storms to be on my doorstep "johnny of the spot", not his deputies but STORMS.


Where does Herman Dunn live??? Not in Bladen County. He does not pay taxes in this county. I believe if you work for Columbus,or Brunswick County Sheriff Department you have to live in that county. Who will he call if he need help? Bladen???

When you say I believe

When you say "I believe" do you mean you think it's the law for that county or it's just one of your opinions? And since the story doesn't mention this Dunn character, are you just stirring up trouble?

Earl Storms is Prentis's puppet

Earl Storms is straight lieing about the 5 not resworn because they did not apply for there job's. No body else did. Did Captain Benston reapply. They were already employed why would they apply for a job you have that's stupid. What about all the other deputies. He's a poor lier. I cant beleive he thinks the citizen's of bladen county would buy that. If he's going to choose not to reswear those officers back in which he can do just like any other nc sheriff. Why didnt he just tell the truth. "This is who prentis told me not to". I had no problem with Prentis winning the primary. I agree that he is a 20 plus year veteran. He seemed like a nice guy.Prentis has never made even 1 arrest. If serving evictions and domestic violence orders was Bladen counties #1 problem then Prentis would be the man. But how to investigate a serious crime or make our school's safer well he's going need some good support telling him what 2 do. He's never had 2 do it before. I was going to support prentis in the november election. I thought he was a nice guy. This america i dont think they should be able to get rid people just because they were vocal on who they wanted to win.

Why bring Mr. Benston into

Why bring Mr. Benston into it i don't think he has anything to do with Mr.Storms decisions. When Mr.Storms went into that office he had an agenda and thats that. I have never not one time during the May 2 vote or the runoff election heard Mr. Benston say or do not one thing wrong he has always been neutral. This what has happened should not be reflected upon him. i am a 100% Benston person But i don't agree with the sudden changes that has been made. We need all the protection we can get at this time and i feel that the officers should be able to keep there jobs. Also during the election I noticed the Bryan campaign and the Benston campaign all conversating together because they knew no matter what they still had a job to do and that is to serve the people in Bladen County.

Re: Why bring Mr. Benston into

Since Mr. Benston is the number 2 highest ranking officer inside sheriff dept behind interm Sheriff Storms now and won the primary. Thats why. And since a internal memo from the sheriff department posted on Ch3 says either Chief Deputy Benston or Captain Herman Dunn not Sheriff Storms are to be contacted on anything. Sounds like he's calling the shots. I guess we will see what kind job Benston will do as Sheriff in the next couple of months. I bet crime rate he promised he could do something about will be just as high. he will not be able to do anything as Sheriff he cant do right now. I guess we will see.

Interim Sheriff Storms did

Interim Sheriff Storms did what he felt was the best thing for the department and morale.
Why don't all of you naysayers go on to some of the Facebook pages of those who were not sworn in and maybe you would get a clue to the true character of these people.
Yes, Mr. Storms is probaly preparing the department for the new sheriff in November, which is logical. Unfortunately, employees who feel so strongly about their choice losing the election will not welcome with open arms the new sheriff. As sad as the facts are, if the sheriff happens to be black,there are some who will have a problem with that. Wake up people, hate is the dirty little secret that no one speaks of or pretends to recognize but it is alive and well among many in our county.
The true character of a man is not how he responds when he wins, it is how he carries himself when defeated.

People will do whatever it

People will do whatever it takes to get votes. Prentis is getting Earl to do his dirty work. Have a backbone Prentis! Also, Eric Bryan should be the sheriff right now. The other three Shaw, Hester, and Moose never stood a chance. They just threw off votes that Eric and Prentis needed then this runoff would have never happen. Think of how much needed money was wasted in this runoff. Don't promise the citizens of Bladen County one thing then do the opposite!!!!! Bladen County voters need to realize that we need a man who will stand up for what he believes in not what others (Herman Dunn) want! Since we can't have Eric then we'll take the next best thing! VOTE BILLY WARD FOR BLADEN COUNTY SHERIFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If Billy Get to be Sheriff,

If Billy Get to be Sheriff, I think I will move,
Look at the interview he gave to the news media, he didnt answer the questions at hand, NOT FOR ME.

I am White and I know what ERIC said, and I wouldnt support him to be the Assistant Dog Warden. He couldnt even be a man when he lost, that showed the true side of him.

And why be mad at a Man that has the right to hire and fire any one he desires. They all knew that their job was at the choice of the Sheriff. Earl Fire who you want, Hire new blood and get this county clean of the Drugs, and Crimes we are faced against.

It was said Mr Little was running the sheriff dept recently, well why did he not clean up things if he was so qualified to be Sheriff. Come on Mr Little showed he was only keeping the same path, nothing being done.

Stupid is as Stupid Does...

Stupid is as Stupid Does...

Re: If Billy Gets to be Sheriff

If the interview you are talking about is when he was asked about the current situation with Storms I think he did the right think by saying it was up to the commissioners. At least he was not talking negative about Storms or Benston. Why didn't Dunn or Benston comment when they were called. Maybe they are waiting on the head puppet master Meeker to tell them what to say.

It all boils bown to the

It all boils bown to the fact the Earl Storms was appointed sheriff by the board of commisioners.Once Mr. Storms became the sheriff he had the right to fire, hire, punish, etc. for whatever reason.The 5 that were not sworn back in obviously left some kind of impression on Sheriff Storms sometime in the last "little" while for him to take such actions against them.Sheriff Storms is one of the greatest sheriff's this county has ever or will ever see and due to that fact I support his decision 100%.And all this about the supporters of Bryan,check out his web site and you will notice that if his supporters were all let go,the Sheriff's dept would be about 25 short,not 5.Something else obviously influenced Sheriff Storms decision!

Could it possibly be caused

Could it possibly be caused by Age or Dementia? Also please note that Sheriff Storms was caught in 2 lies when questioned by the television Media...WOW...What a Great Great Sheriff...He should have stayed Retired with his honor.

The only thing obvious...

is that ther is more to it than them leaving some kind of impression. If his actions were aboveboard and his motives pure, he wouldn't be telling different stories. Did they not reapply or is he still evaluating? Did Mr. Little retire? If so, why was he as surprsed as the other four?

Money and the crooke people

Money and the crooke people he is backing.


Yea, the crooke people. What does that mean? Is it a statement. A slogan? It's not information. It's just a bunch of words: the crooke people.


This whole election has come down to a race issue. I have to totally agree with the first commenter! Yes...she got her way! ONE MORE TIME! Bladen County is going to go to you know where in a hand basket NOW!!!!!! No one is perfect but the way things were done in the recent election and what is being done now is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!! We all need to pray hard for what our county is fixing to have to face. And now is when I am going to worried too death about my kids! When you have someone coming into office that is friends with some of the worst criminals that there is in Bladen can we be any other way but DOOMED?!?!?! Knowing that my children will be going to school with others that are not made to obey the law, but if my children get out there and do something, they will definitely get the max punishment. I just wished someone could answer the question as to why you would appoint someone like Mr. Storms to take on the roll of sherriff again when he has not had any influence in the way things are being run now? Why not appoint someone that is already there????? This county is unbelievable! And to the second commenter.....NO 80% of the force does NOT need to fired! The officers that are currently employeed by this county needs to just be held accountable for doing what they had sworn to do. And if not, they should have to deal with the consequences of their actions! If you can't cut the mustard, then you need to be shown the door. I feel SOME, not ALL, of the ones that were not sworn in were treated unfairly. But this IS typical for politics! All I can say is that I am truly disappointed in the choices that have been made by some our counties "FINEST"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Needed more time to get

Needed more time to get enough information? So he had sufficient information on every other deputy? Really? Seems suspicious, seeing as though the five supported a certain candidate.

On one hand people are

On one hand people are saying commissioner Blanks orchestrated this by getting Storms to promise these firings if she got the votes for him. On the other hand Storms says these five did not re-apply for the deputy positions. Wonder if we will ever know the truth?

They need to fire Blanks!!!!

They need to fire Blanks!!!! She is a prime example of a dirty politic!

How exactly do you fire an

How exactly do you fire an elected official?


Did not Earl Storms work with Phillip Little, Eric Bryan, Steve Lesane?? Needs more time to get informations about them! You scratch my back and I will scratch yours!! November will tell how the people of this county think. Sad day for the Bladen County Sheriff Department.

Storms is a Benston

Storms is a Benston supporter. Commissioners stated they appointed a "non-affiliated" person since there was so much controversy in the sheriff's department. Really? If the commissioners didn't know about Storms, then they did not do their home-work and check him out before making their decision. They listened to the pied piper and followed her agenda. The
commissioners all need to GO and why do the citizens keep voting them
back into office?


I think personally 80% of what is there needs to be let go and they need to reconstruct a whole new sheriffs department! Bladen County has gone to he** in a handbasket with its good old boy standards!

well then you need to get

well then you need to get rid of the person who has held the position as CAR 3 he would be right there with the good ole boy system.. dont you think for one second that he will risk his life for you, he has never even worked as a road officer to do something like that..


I bet I know who will be chief deputy. Bladen County needs a change from the top down. I hope none of the county commissioners are re-elected. 5 good people lost their jobs today, all with years of experience because of a political game being led by a county commissioner to make sure that her choice is elected sherriff. I hope Billy Ward wins simply because I am sick of the political games being played by our county commissioners.