BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Without a chief for two weeks, and now the Burgaw Police Department is facing more questions.
Wednesday we learned the department is down so many officers the town is asking the county for help. Burgaw Town Manager Chad McEwen told us the Pender County Sheriff’s office will provide deputies to help fill open shifts.
Fully staffed, McEwen said, Burgaw has nine patrol officers on staff, but right now it has six. Pender County deputies will fill those gaps for the time being.
The department has lost 14 of its 21 employees since May 1, 2013. The town manager says the high attrition speaks for itself, but he said you cannot assume all of the employees who have left have been disgruntled.
Folks in Burgaw had mixed emotions about the department’s recent shakeups.
“It’s Burgaw, man. Small town. Not a lot of stuff going on, but when there is they can handle it,” Mark Hufhan said.
“Here in town they have a lot they need to deal with, and there’s no cops to deal with what we do,” Crystal Evans said.
Not all of the 14 employees who have left in the last couple of years were police. Two of them were clerical.
The town suspended Police Chief Montrina Sutton Monday for two weeks while her department is reviewed. According to the town manager the suspension was disciplinary in nature. The town also eliminated a major and captain position. McEwen said leaders felt the staff was “too command heavy.” He says they’ve asked former Burgaw Police Chief Wayne Briley, who is currently serving as administrative chief while Sutton is out, to look at what the department really needs as far as staffing, especially in middle management and supervisory roles.