Controversy swirls over allegations against Beaufort Co. Sheriff’s Office

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – There is growing controversy in Beaufort County after allegations made against the sheriff’s office by a county commissioner.

Commissioner Jerry Langley said sheriff office employees were using county owned patrol cars for personal matters. He called it a misuse that is being allowed by Sheriff Ernie Coleman.

“My thoughts are that’s a lot of liability,” Langley said.

Langley, who brought up the issue during the November commissioner’s meeting, said he’s seen the misuse of vehicles firsthand by a female employee of the sheriff’s office.

“I’ve seen her on a Saturday morning driving around with her dog in the car,” he said.

During another incident, Langley said a deputy driving a patrol car was pulled over in Pitt County for speeding. According to Langley, that deputy was preparing to drop off his child at school.

“I just have a problem with blatantly breaking the law.”

WNCT reached out to Sheriff Coleman to get his take on the matter. Coleman said county commissioner’s have no say in how he authorizes his employees to use their vehicles. He also said Langley’s allegations are politically motivated.

Coleman said Langley has been a supporter of one of the men who plans to run against him in the sheriff’s election in 2018.

Langley said this has nothing to do with politics. He said if it did, he would have done it earlier.

“This conversation would have come earlier so that you could build a pattern of misuse,” Langley said.

WNCT reached out to the State Highway Patrol for comment on the incident involving the deputy, but was told they would have to look into the matter.

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