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Newton Grove Residents Sound Off About Lack Of Police Force

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NEWTON GROVE — Help is not minutes away for a small Sampson County town. Every single member of Newton Grove's police force walked off the job on Monday and now residents are concerned about their safety.

Newton Grove residents expressed their feelings about the lack of a police force in a public meeting with town officials Thursday night.

"What this town needs is to stop this squabble," says Newton Grove resident McCoy Sutton.

Some residents were angry and disappointed that the entire police force quit, but resident Brenda Warren believes town officials did the right thing.

"They had an employee that threatened them," Warren says. "If you have an employee that threatens you, and you let them get by with it, then it will ruin the town."

Currently, if someone in Newton Grove dials 911, the closest police response would come from Clinton and could take up to 30 minutes.

Police protection could come in the form of a Raleigh private security company that made a pitch to the board. The company would restore the same level of service the Newton Grove police force provided, but it comes with a heavy price tag.

"At $19 a hour, I think that is the rate, that sounds cheap, but their uniforms are on liability insurance," says Newton Grove Mayor William Wilson. "We just contract with them. We don't pay workers' compensation or anything on them."

Town officials will decide on Friday whether they will hire the private security company. It will be a minimum 30-day contract and the officers could start as early as Friday.

The town is still reviewing applications to fill the six vacant police positions, including the chief's.

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Ken Smith, Reporter
Lynn French, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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