Navassa Police Chief says town’s decision blindsided him

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Town of Navassa voted to terminate its police department’s partnership with the Northwest police department, an agreement that had helped both small towns in the past.

Navassa Police Chief Preston Howell says he was caught off guard by the decision, and only heard about it in a short email from the town administrator after town council voted to break the agreement.

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Navassa’s town administrator emailed Navassa’s police chief after town council’s decision.

He says Northwest and Navassa would often work together on traffic checkpoints, helping each other earn new equipment their towns couldn’t afford otherwise.

Now Navassa has less help, less resources, and a two member police force (one of which is part-time).

Our reporter, Peyton Furtado (R) asked Chief Howell (H) if the town would benefit from this decision:

R: “Does it benefit the police department or the town to break off this agreement?”

H: “It–no. No, it doesn’t benefit anyone.”

R: “And they gave you no reason for terminating it?”

H: “No ma’am.”

In the past eight years, three Navassa officers have left and started work for Northwest, but Howell could not confirm if that was the reason Navassa chose to break their agreement.

Mayor Willis says Town Council will hold a budget workshop on Saturday. There, they hope to discuss efforts to hire new police officers in the Town of Navassa.

Until then, Howell says he’ll have to keep his town safe with what he’s got.