Incoming Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory is firing a number of staff members and, despite inquiries from KSLA News 12, he has yet to explain why.
Staff members, and even the current sheriff, are at a loss to understand the changes. More important, they fear a loss of safety will accompany the changes.
"This man has literally walked in here and [is] throwing them out like they are nothing," says retiring Sheriff Danny Russell.
"When you put people in here who do not know the county and who are not certified, it can't be good for Little River County. It can't be good for the safety of people," Russell says.
Staff members also shared their concerns.
"I have been here about 17 years, and now I am going to be on the unemployment list. And I am not a young person," says Little River County Dispatcher Martha Abney.
Abney and the seven patrolling deputies for Little River County were notified by letter that they would no longer have a job. That letter was written by newly elected Sheriff Gary Gregory, who takes over January 1.
Abney says she and the other staff members were under the impression that, "if we filled out our applications and turned it in, had our interview, then we had a job. But that is just not what happened."
KSLA talked with Gregory by phone on Wednesday, but the incoming sheriff refused to talk with us about this issue. Gregory said he would get with us at a later date.
"It is a terrible day. It is a sad day. I'm not sure what Gregory's agenda is," Sheriff Russell says.
"And it is not a good thing in Little River County," Abney adds.
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