Local News

Pine Level Police Force Resigns ... All of It

Posted August 3, 1998

— What does a town do when its entire police force quits? That's the situation people in the Johnston County community of Pine Level are dealing with. Residents still want to know why two full-time and nine part-time officers resigned.

While the situation that led to the resignations has apparently been brewing for months, many people have been caught off-guard. Two officers resigned earlier this year. Chief Keith Vaughn's resignation was effective Monday.

The part-time auxiliary officers left on principle when Vaughn resigned.

Inside the police department, scanners and emergency equipment are running, and squad cars are parked just outside the doors. Otherwise, nothing moves, and it is anything but business as usual. Police uniforms, badges and gear lay piled in chairs.

Players on both sides, including members of the town board, say politics is what caused this situation.

Merchants such as Nobie Braswell want a police force in place soon. She says taxpayers deserve protection.

"Well, I came from a large town," says Braswell. "Living in Pine Level, I always felt safe here because there's no crime here, and I'd like to keep it that way."

WRAL's Brian Bowman talked to Vaughn at his home Tuesday morning. He had little to say, but did comment that he thinks Mayor Robert Watson and some members of the town board have been 'micro-managing' his business, telling him every move to make.

Mayor Watson told Bowman that is simply not the case.

The town does have protection. The Johnston County Sheriff's Department is keeping watch over Pine Level's 1,200 residents.

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