Town's Top Cop Can No Longer Make Arrests, Carry Badge

An Eastern Carolina police chief can't carry a badge, wear a uniform and can no longer arrest anyone.

That's because Richlands Police Chief Thomas Bennett has lost his state firearms certification. That happened February 7th, and since then the chief has been limited to desk duty in his $44,000 a year job.

Town manager Gregg Whitehead says Bennett is set to retire in July, after more than 30 years as an officer. Whitehead was told the issue with the chief's certification was Bennett's slow draw.

"This will not effect his ability to perform the most critical function: a police chief managing the department. That has not changed, he just has not met a state qualification," Whitehead told WITN. "He has not forgotten what it is to be a police chief. He's just not able top wear a uniform." The chief supervises four officers.

Bennett can also not carry a state or town issued firearm. The town manager says the chief can drive a police cruiser, but he can't use the lights or siren.

Bennett has been chief in Richlands since 1999.

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