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Cumberland sheriff demands contract from Spring Lake

Sheriff Moose Butler said fewer Cumberland County deputies will patrol Spring Lake if the town doesn't agree to a contract with his office by Tuesday.

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SPRING LAKE, N.C. — The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office will reduce patrols in Spring Lake starting next Wednesday if town officials don't approve a contract to pay for the service, Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler said Thursday.

The sheriff's office assumed control for law enforcement in Spring Lake on May 4 after two officers were indicted on kidnapping, assault and embezzlement charges.

Since then, the county has provided four deputies per shift to patrol the town, but Butler said in a letter to Spring Lake Mayor Ethel Clark that the county budget couldn't support such continued coverage without payment from the town.

"Without a satisfactory contract in place, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office simply does not have the funding to continue to provide the additional level of law enforcement services which have been provided to the town without charge during this transition period," Butler wrote.

The county has proposed a contract to Spring Lake officials calling for the town to pay $203,506 for having four deputies patrol the town through Aug. 31. Officials would have to negotiate the terms to extend the contract beyond that.

Butler said he wants to meet with Spring Lake officials on Monday to discuss the contract, noting he has received no response from them since it was proposed.

Without a deal, he said, Cumberland County will begin providing "zone coverage" to Spring Lake on July 1, meaning only one deputy per shift would respond to calls in the town.

The state probe of the Spring Lake Police Department also led to the resignation of Police Chief A.C. Brown. Town Manager Larry Faison resigned under fire on Monday because of his handling of problems in the department.

Interim Police Chief Gregg Jarvies has proposed firing Spring Lake's remaining police officers and rebuilding the department while deputies patrol the town.

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