BAILEY, N.C. (WNCN) — A small town with a population of less than 600 is suddenly without the majority of its police force and an internal investigation is underway, according to the Town Administrator.

On Thursday, Town Administrator Joel Killion confirmed that Police Chief Cathy Callahan and Officer Evan Sokolove have been put on an administrative leave.

It was a big surprise for Sallie Grimes, a long-time Bailey business owner, to find out about the controversy impacting the police department.

“I didn’t know. I don’t what they possibly could have done.  What goes on in Bailey,” she said.

At this time, no answer has been provided by the Town of Bailey as to why the pair were put on leave, but the Nash County Sheriff’s Office is scheduled to provide law enforcement coverage in the area through at least the next week, according to Sheriff’s Major Eddie Moore.

Moore said the town’s police force is typically comprised of three full-time staff and a handful of part-time officers.

CBS 17 reached out to the town and police department to request more information Thursday morning. A police representative said he could only confirm the administrative leave was in place.

Killion did later respond with a short statement at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday. In full the statement said,

The Town of Bailey has placed Chief Cathy Callahan and Officer Evan Sokolove on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

The Town Police Commissioner and Nash County Sheriff are working to ensure there is a police presence in the Town.

The Town has no further comments on the situation at this time. Thank you.”

Joel Killion, Town Administrator

CBS 17’s Nick Sturdivant talked with Sokolove and his attorney by phone Thursday night. They call the suspension unfair.

They said this started a couple of weeks ago when Killion asked Sokolove about his time sheet.

“Over questions about me working and not being paid,” mentioned Sokolove.

However, Sokolove said he then brought up issues he was having with Callahan.

“I raised that concern as a whistleblower along with other concerns of things that I had observed Chief Callahan doing that were improper,” he stated.

Over the next two weeks, after he filed his complaint, Sokolove said an internal investigation was launched into Callahan’s behavior.

Sokolove said he found out last week he was also being investigated by town leaders after Callahan put in a complaint in about him.

It’s why Sokolove said he and his attorneys submitted a settlement along with a letter of resignation to town leaders.

“It would be totally unbearable. Totally unbearable working for this Chief Callahan or working for the town after they tarnished my name,” Sokolove said.

Sokolove said he plans to file a lawsuit if he can’t reach a settlement with town leaders.

We did talk with Callahan by phone. However, she said she cannot comment on the matter and referred us to the town’s attorney.