NEWTON GROVE, N.C. — The Sampson County town of Newton Grove, which only had three police officers, is down to just one, but the town is getting some much-needed help.
The chief retired, one patrolman is out after hurting his leg and another officer is leaving soon for a new job.
"It's leaving us with a void in police protection in Newton Grove," police commissioner Alan Herring said.
Even under usual circumstances, Newton Grove does not have enough officers to patrol 24 hours a day, but the town will get some help from Sampson County sheriff deputies.
"I don't want nothing to happen and anyone to say that we could have done something," Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said. "I think it's our duty and our sworn oath to protect the people of our county."
While Sampson County deputies will not patrol Newton Grove on a regular basis, they are available if needed.
"Our sheriff's department is already undermanned. I don't know how they can cover any more than they're already covering, so I doubt that they'll be able to give us realistically any good coverage here," resident Kenny Bass said.
In the meantime, Newton Grove is looking for a new chief and another officer and waiting for the injured one to return.
This is not the first time Newton Grove has been faced with an officer shortage. Back in 2000, the entire police department quit and the town ended up hiring a
private police force
for a while.