Emails detail concern for officer safety, resignations in Isle of Palms police department

VIDEO: Emails detail concern for officer safety, resignations in Isle of Palms police department

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - A staffing shortage on the Isle of Palms police department has officers concerned about their own safety.

The details are in internal emails just obtained by Live 5 News.

In December 2018 we first reported that three officers and two animal control officers left the police department.

We had many more questions about the state of the police force.

Under South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act, we requested all internal emails from then interim Police Chief Kim Usry to her staff.

We were sent 360 pages of documents that painted a clearer picture of what is going on inside the department.

In an email sent by Patrol Sergeant Matt Storen to Usry, Storen expressed his concern about another resignation he said left the department at critical staffing.

"I am extremely concerned from an officer standpoint and I am just asking what plans are being put in place to help solve this," Storen wrote.

Storen said he was speaking for some of the other patrol officers and said he was "simply looking for answers."

Chief Usry wrote back and reminded duty sergeants about the city's mutual aid agreement with other local agengies and to contact those agencies for help when needed.

"We all need to work through difficult times and come together as a team supportive of everyone," Usry replied to Storen.

In another email from December 2018 Sgt. Jamey Meekins addresses the officer shortage.

"With all due respect, could we not put one from criminal investigations division (CID) or Livability on the road? Patrol is the backbone of the department," Meekins wrote.

Other emails addressed officer resignations.

In one Usry asks Meekins why a field training officer had only three calls for service during his entire shift.

"As far as his productivity, it could be related to him having already cleaned out his drawer, locker and in the process of being hired by another department," Meekins wrote back to Usry.

Other emails indicate some officers weren't getting along with one another.

In an email from January 2019 Sergeant Chad King told Usry an officer would quit if she had to work with one of the others.

"I'm worried about all the people we have lost and I'm worried about losing more. It's already an unsafe environment," King wrote.

Usry recently retired from the department and the search has begun for a new police chief.

We reached out to Isle of Palms interim City Administrator Desiree Fragoso for a comment and an update on staffing at the police department.

She has not gotten back to us.

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