Enfield police chief's resignation cites hostile work environment

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Friday, September 16, 2022
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Enfield Police Chief James Ayers wrote in his resignation letter that he could no longer work in an oppressive and hostile work environment created by town leaders.

ENFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's happened again--a small-town North Carolina police chief has turned in his badge claiming a hostile work environment.

This time, it's the top cop in Enfield.

Police Chief James Ayers resigned from his post as did a captain from the department.

They quit last week but on Thursday, the Durham Herald Sun obtained the resignation letters laying out their reasons.

Enfield Mayor Mondale Robinson refutes claims that he called out former police chief James Ayers on social media, like Ayers's resignation letter claimed.

Robinson said he mentioned in a live stream video that it was the police chief that initiated the SBI investigation of the removal of a confederate monument.

He also addressed the former chief's claims of retaliation: "I think this is a serious charge and someone should look into it, because I would love to see who and what was retaliation, especially since the chief didn't work more than three or so days since the incident happened because he was out of state on family leave."

Robinson also disagreed with claims of a hostile work environment.

"He was at work after the monument came down and we had literally had a conversation before the monument came down about how I could help get the officers a raise."

He also said his conversations with the former police captain Corey Bullock were limited and the officer didn't work with the department very long.

"I've seen this playbook before it's tired and old; try and paint this picture of Black leadership that's dysfunctional but as it pertains to the town, I believe if folk aren't comfortable with addressing white supremacy then they shouldn't be working for or in Enfield. So the chief and the captain showed through their resignations that the status quo is acceptable to them and their leaving are blessings to Enfield's future."

The departure of the two officers leaves the department bare bones. A representative with the Halifax County Sheriff's Office told ABC11 that they're working to establish a plan to make sure residents in Enfield will have law enforcement coverage.