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Startling photo of empty patrol cars sounds alarm over N.C. staffing woes

Last summer, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office was short 13 officers. Now, it’s short nearly 30


“Our wages aren’t competitive,” Sheriff Thornton said.

Photo/Sheriff Jimmy Thornton via Facebook

By Sarah Calams

CLINTON, N.C. — They say a picture is worth a thousand words. One North Carolina sheriff is hoping this rings true after posting a startling photo to the department’s Facebook page.

Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton is sounding the alarm over his department’s staffing woes with a photo of rows of empty, unused patrol cars – at least 17 – that remain idle in the department’s lot.


Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said a “lack of appropriate funding” is hampering the department’s recruitment efforts.

Photo/Sheriff Jimmy Thornton via Facebook

“The sheriff’s office is short 29 deputies and detention officers, because other counties pay their officers more than we do,” Thornton wrote on Facebook. “Our wages aren’t competitive. Too few deputies and detention officers put citizens and officers at risk.”

Thornton told that a “lack of appropriate funding” from the county is hampering the department’s efforts to hire and pay detention officers and deputies appropriately.

“Last summer, the sheriff’s office was short 13 deputies, patrol officers and detention officers. Now it’s short 29,” Thornton said.

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