Candor, NC — Four out of five police officers have gotten pink slips in a Montgomery County community.
Two new commissioners were sworn into office in the town of Candor Monday night. Their first order of business was a closed door meeting, in which 80 percent of the police department was terminated.
“It’s a shock. All four of us officers, we’ve done our job, never had any complaints, never written up,” said Jeremy Blake, one of the officers who was fired.
“They didn’t give us a reason why. They didn’t give us a cause. The just said it was effective immediately,” said another fired officer, Grantland Jackson.
Commissioner Phillip Hearn, who has served on the board for ten years, said he was one of two commissioners who voted against it. The vote was three to two.
“None of the three commissioners, who voted for this, would give a reason why, to the board of commissioners, or to the citizens of this town,” said Hearn.
However, the officers who got the pink slips believe the move can be traced back to one traffic stop.
“I’m thinking this is just a continuation of a personal vendetta by a lady that we ended up arresting some two years ago,” said James Pierce, who has fired as sergeant of the force.
Pierce said that woman helped finance the new commissioners’ campaigns, including the campaign of Wayne Holyfield. On Monday night, Mayor Rich Britt appointed Holyfield in charge of the police department.
Holyfield is also a state trooper. Town officials said he was the one who made the motion to fire the police officers.
“It was disgraceful. And to think, a state trooper was the instigator of it,” said one resident, Susan Myers.
WFMY News 2 spoke with Wayne Holyfield by phone late Tuesday night. He said “It was a matter that was discussed and supported by 3 out 5 board members.” He declined to comment any further.
Commissioner Hearn is questioning whether the move is even legal.
“The town’s attorney had not been contacted. The personnel policy we have in place had not been followed,” said Hearn.
As for the officers, they said they’ve already filed for unemployment.
“Right before Christmas, it’s pretty tough,” said Jackson.
Everybody in this town is upset. And we are not going to sit back. We are going to try and do something,” said Myers.
Britt told News 2 the town will still be patrolled 24/7. He said the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department will be helping out and they hope to hire four new officers by mid-January.
Source: WFMY News 2