KENLY, N.C. (WNCN) — The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office has officially taken over law enforcement duties for the Town of Kenly.

It comes after resignation letters were submitted from the Kenly police chief and officers just two weeks ago.

The sheriff’s office officially took over at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Patti Gordon lives near Kenly. She told CBS 17 she was shocked when she first heard the police department resigned.

“I would think it would be scary to be without that safety net in place,” said Gordon. “I think that it’s a situation that hopefully will not last long.”

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is taking over duties while an investigation into the matter is underway.

Below are images of all eight resignation letters submitted to the Town of Kenly.

Jeff Welty, a professor at the UNC School of Government says it’s normal for the sheriff’s office to take over in situations like this.

“Sheriff’s have law enforcement jurisdiction throughout their counties including within city limits,” said Welty.

CBS 17 spoke with the town manager today who did not want to go on camera but provided us with copies of the eight resignation letters from the chief, officers and two clerks.

In a resignation letter written to the town manager, former police chief, Josh Gibson, cited a hostile work environment. Other letters cited similar concerns.

A patrol officer wrote, “unfortunately there are decisions being made that jeopardize my safety and make me question what the future will hold for a Kenly police officer.”

Welty says there are two options the town could take– rebuild or disband.

“They could decide they don’t want to have a police department anymore and in that scenario they would kind of disband the department and they might coordinate with the sheriff.”

What the town decides to do will be determined. The investigation could take weeks. The next council meeting is scheduled for August 8.