Union County meeting about sheriff's office erupts into shouting match
INDIAN TRAIL, Feb 18, 2013 (The Charlotte Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A dispute among town officials on who should supply Indian Trail with law enforcement turned even more bitter during a Saturday afternoon meeting that left the Union County town without a solution to the problem.
The Union County Sheriff's Office has been supplying Indian Trail with law enforcement, through a $1.5-million annual contract. Deputies are assigned to the town and provide patrols, security at public meetings, and law enforcement.
That contract expires June 30, and wording in a proposed new contract has divided Sheriff Eddie Cathey and some Indian Trail officials.
Two town council members, Robert Allen and Darlene Luther, have proposed Indian Trail establishing its own police department, similar to what neighboring Stallings did several years ago. That proposal has divided the town government.
During a special meeting Saturday afternoon, the two sides bickered over the plan, and the debate grew raucous at times.
"It was a circus," Allen told reporters afterwards.
Council member David Cohn shouted at another town official at one point in the meeting, according to several witnesses.
Earlier last week, Allen said the problem is centered around the sheriff's office balking at wording in a proposed new contract. He told reporters that the wording calls for the sheriff to specify exactly how much time deputies spend on town business. In addition, some council members want a dedicated 911 channel for Indian Trail law enforcement.
"I do take it as a slap in the face," Cathey told WCNC-TV, the Observer's news partner.
In the end, the four attending council members were split on the issue Saturday. Mayor Michael Alvarez broke the tie by voting against the proposal for Indian Trail to establish its own police department.
The town was left with no contract for law enforcement -- and the possibility of more bickering in the days ahead.
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