State News

Spring Lake scrambles to close holes in police protection

Posted July 1, 2009

— There was less of a law enforcement presence in Spring Lake Wednesday. Sheriff's deputies, who had been assigned to the town since early May, pulled back their patrols effective July 1.

The town Board of Aldermen voted Monday not to fund the deputies and instead to pay the town's police force.

The problem is, that force is not allowed to investigate crimes or respond to 911 calls. District Court Judge Beth Keever stripped the department of its police powers May 6, following the arrests of two supervising officers on corruption charges.

Spring Lake police cars Spring Lake officers have work to do before getting back on the beat

Keever ordered that the department complete a thorough evaluation of all employees before she will consider restoring policing powers. "I think she just wants a clean bill of health," Jarvies said.

“She wants to be able to feel comfortable that the judges in her courtroom can put any officer that we put out there on the street on their witness stand and know that they’re credible.”

He said it could be 90 to 120 days before evaluations are complete and he’s ready to make a case to put officers back on the street: “It’s not gonna happen quickly, at least I wouldn’t allow it to happen quickly,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 11 Spring Lake officers have been undergoing training.

"We have some officers looking for employment elsewhere," Jarvies said. "I can't blame them for that. They're eager to get back to work."

The town of 9,000 residents is not completely devoid of police protection. The sheriff's office will have two deputies per shift patrolling a zone that includes Spring Lake, but it will no longer have four deputies devoted exclusively to the town.

Gregg Jarvies, who was hired as interim police chief to clean up the Spring Lake department, said he has been in touch with the Highway Patrol about providing manpower to the town.

Jarvies also said Mayor Ethel Clark is working on a modified arrangement with Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler to get the deputies back.

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  • gandalla Jul 1, 2009

    It was written in the order the DA wrote when Moose and his boys took over.

  • RonnieR Jul 1, 2009

    All I seen reported is that they can't make arrests, initiate investigations, nor respond to 911 calls. Where have you seen differently, gandalla. Most of the stuff I mentioned was stuff ANY citizen can do.

  • gandalla Jul 1, 2009

    In case you missed all the reports the Spring Lake officers are not allowed to do any police work period. They cant even carry their guns when there off duty like real officers can.

  • Big Brother1 Jul 1, 2009

    Sounds like the Sherrif needs to get his head out of his gluteus maximus!

  • Centurian Jul 1, 2009

    Just a technicality perhaps, but I don't believe that the Spring Lake Police Department has actually "been stripped" of their law enforcement and police powers. The local DA and senior judge have stated that SLPD will have no charges from cases they investigate prosecuted in the local court system. This may effectively prevent them from doing their intended jobs, but does not deprive them of their law enforcment authority as sworn officers. Interim Chief Jarvies is a proven professional and if the Town Council will get out of his way, he will restore the SLPD to competency for the citizens.

  • retired and luv it Jul 1, 2009

    How sorry can things continue to get in our great nation? Wonder if taxes in Spring Lake are adjusting accordingly with lack of services?? NOT!

  • ghimmy51 Jul 1, 2009

    WRAL for your information today is Wednesday July 1, 2009. It is not Thursday as the article states.

  • RonnieR Jul 1, 2009

    They can also do minor car crashes. Fayetteville uses unsworn folks to do those, too.

  • RonnieR Jul 1, 2009

    Well, at least they can patrol and call the law if they see something suspicious, provide escorts, direct traffic and all the other things that do not involve arresting/responding to 911 calls. If they come upon something serious, they can always do a citizen's detention and call they deputy to arrest the detained person.

  • mxteam44 Jul 1, 2009

    I know the citizens of Spring Lake deserve to know the details of what's going on with the police protection, but it's also letting the crooks know their chances of getting caught are considerably less. Catch 22 I guess.