Concerned Navassa citizens call on town to keep police department, council tables decision
NAVASSA, NC (WWAY) — The future of law enforcement in the Town of Navassa is still unclear. The town is holding off making a decision about eliminating its police department.
Navassa recently received a proposal from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement services in the town. A group of concerned citizens gathered outside a town council meeting Thursday night calling on town leaders to keep their police department.
“We have no problem with Chief Howell and the officers here, they have been doing an excellent job for us,” said group leader Ida Dixon. “We went out and obtained signatures from over 120 citizens that are requesting that they keep our police department.”
The town currently employs just a chief and one part time officer, and council is working to determine if partnering with the sheriff’s office would be better than hiring additional officers.
Dixon says although she thinks the sheriff’s office does a good job, she fears the citizens wouldn’t be as protected.
“I understand that Sheriff Ingram is the sheriff of this county, he’s doing an excellent job along with his officers, but we want our local police officers here,” she said. “The response time for Brunswick County is not going to be as efficient as the officers that we have here.”
At the town council meeting on Thursday, leaders voted to table the decision for now as they continue considering options. Town administrator Claudia Bray says the current proposal from the county might not be the most cost effective.
“At this point in time with the numbers they’ve given us, there’s really no savings in it, that’s why we’re reviewing other options,” Bray said.
Some citizens were also concerned the town might decide to fire Police Chief Preston Howell. Regarding his employment, Bray had this to say:
“No decisions or anything was made regarding the chief, and if there were that is something that’s personnel that was taken care of in executive session and I cannot disclose that information.”
Bray said they hope to come to a conclusion about the future of the police department soon. We will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available.