KENLY, N.C. (WNCN) — Several questions were left unanswered in Kenly on Thursday, one day after the town’s entire full-time police force submitted their letters of resignation on Wednesday evening, saying they’d be leaving in two weeks.
“I’ve seen resignations from the politicians, the mayors and council members, I have seen employees resign, I’ve never seen a resignation from an entire department,” Chip Hewett, the attorney for the town of Kenly, said.
Police Chief Josh Gibson wrote on Facebook that his team could not complete their duties in the current environment, but did not specify what complaints or concerns officers had.
“The immediate concern was, what happens to police protection in Kenly?” Hewett questioned.
The answer to that question is the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. In a statement, Sheriff Steve Bizzell said his department will continue to serve Kenly, writing in part, “I will assign deputies to patrol the streets to ensure public safety if and when needed.” But business owners have concerns about relying on a county-wide police team, saying they want the town council to act immediately, and try to keep the police force.
“If the town council doesn’t respond like they should, I think you’re going to create an even worse pattern for the business owners,” Sandra Parnell, a local business owner, said.
Other residents we spoke with say they just want more answers as to what led up to the mass resignations.
“I don’t know the reason why, but it must be something they feel that they have to put in their resignation,” Carlton Whitfield said.
CBS 17 reached out to Justine Jones and she said an emergency meeting with the council is scheduled for Friday at 7:00 p.m. Jones also said the meeting would be a closed session. Community members say they want to see the entire administration working together.
“I really am hoping they can get together and work together and see what can be done to save Kenly,” Christel McGowen, a local business owner, said.
CBS 17 reached out to the town council members individually, but have not heard back.