The entire police department in Kenly, North Carolina, resigned less than two months after a new town manager was hired. In addition, two town clerks also tendered their resignations.
Police Chief Josh Gibson blamed a “hostile work environment” for the decision in a letter to newly hired town manager Justine Jones.
“In my 21 years at the Kenly Police Department, we have seen ups and downs. But, especially in the last 3 years, we have made substantial progress that we had hoped to continue. However, due to the hostile work environment now present in the Town of Kenly, I do not believe progress is possible,” Gibson wrote in his resignation letter, which was obtained by WRAL.
Gibson told WCNC that he cannot elaborate on what he meant because lawyers are now involved. He did note that the department is supposed to have eight full-time officers but has been stuck with just five.
Gibson wasn’t the only person to mention the hostile work environment. Christy Thomas, the utility clerk for the town, also cited it in her resignation letter.
“I have truly enjoyed working for The Town the last four years. Due to the current situations and the stress in the work area lately, my main concern is my health, and right now, I need to focus on my well-being. The work area is very hostile, and I will not let myself be around that kind of atmosphere,” she wrote.
The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office assured residents that it will have deputies on hand to answer 911 calls and respond to any emergencies.
“We’re stepping up and stepping out, and as Johnston County and the sheriff’s office, we’re going to be there for our people and the citizens. They may be the citizens of the town of Kenly, but they’re still citizens of the county of Johnston, also,” Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.
The Kenly Town Council will hold an emergency meeting on Friday (July 22) to discuss the resignations.