Spring Lake says no to Sheriff

June 29, 2009 8:59:03 PM PDT
On Monday, town leaders rejected an offer from Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler that would have kept four deputies on the streets of Spring Lake.Last week, Sheriff Butler gave the town an ultimatum to foot the bill for extra deputies patrolling the town or he would scale back coverage. But on Monday, town leaders rejected the offer.

Instead, town leaders passed a new budget that will pay for a police department and not extra sheriff's deputies.

"I feel like at this particular time we need to keep these officers," Town Alderman Fredricka Sutherland said. "They need to start accepting applications of new officers and get this ball rolling."

The county deputies were providing the service to the town, because Spring Lake's police department was stripped of its power in May.

Since then, two police officers have been charged with embezzlement and obstruction of justice. The police chief and the town manager have also resigned.

Through the turmoil there's been growing consensus in the town that the DA, and a judge who ruled to change the department, overstepped their authority.

"Because it is illegal," Sutherland said. "And they think we are all crazy and don't know what is going on and that's not true."

Town leaders said they want to use their budget money to resurrect their police department. And interim chief Greg Jarvies said he hopes it works.

"We are going to put together another plan that will try to hang on to the officers if we can," Jarvies said. "If not, maybe require a rehiring reassessment, but take it to Judge Keever and say 'if we meet this target will you life your order', if we commit to that."

Jarvies said he hoped to present his plan to District Judge Beth Keever within the next 7 to 10 days.

Meanwhile, the sheriff's department said on Wednesday at noon, one or two sheriff's deputies will go back to zone patrol, answering 911 calls and investigations.


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