In January, Police Chief William Pernell and two officers were fired because of financial problems, leaving five people on the force. In April, the interim police chief and another officer quit, saying the town didn't support the department.
Now, Sharpsburg has a new chief who said he's ready to rebuild. The swearing-in of former Wilson police Sgt. B.C. Bissette turns a new page after months of turmoil in the town of Sharpsburg.
"It's definitely intimidating," said Bissette. "It's a challenge, which is a good thing because I really look forward to challenges."
There's no shortage of challenges in Sharpsburg, having lost a total of five officers since January.
"I pretty much have to start from scratch," said Bissette. "We're kind of making a new start here."
"To the citizens of Sharpsburg, let me assure you that today is a new day in our town," said Sharpsburg Mayor Sheila Williams.
Bissette is originally from Nash County. He has 10 years of experience and support of law enforcement in Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe counties. Sharpsburg sits in all three counties.
Sheriffs and police chiefs from several area departments attended the ceremony, including Bisette's old boss from Wilson.
"He will do a great job," said Wilson Police Chief Harry Tyson. "He has some great ideas about law enforcement."
Including the new chief, Sharpsburg now has four full-time officers. Town leaders are trying to find room in the budget to add at least two more. The town is still working with state finance officers to get back on track after a nearly $400,000 budget deficit.
"We're going to come up with new creative ideas," said Bissette. "We're going to do more with less."
Bissette said his first order of business is to build better community relationships and rebuild the town's trust and faith in his police department.
A 12-person panel interviewed four other candidates before selecting Bissette to head the department.
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