LATTA, S.C. (WBTW) — The normally quiet Town of Latta has been shaken up by a mass exodus of town employees and half of its police force.
“Half of the police force quitting, like what’s up with that? Dang,” one resident said.
“I’m pretty sure that everything will be well as long as the crime rate doesn’t escalate,” another resident said.
Only one of the six police resignation letters gives a specific reason. Officer Leslie Jones joined the force last August. She turned in her two weeks notice Tuesday. She said she started seeing “fellow co-workers being treated differently and unfairly,” adding “the disrespect to each other is too much to see and hear.”
The town has been locked in a battle over who rightfully won November’s mayoral election. Henry “Robbie” Coward won the election, but opponent Teresa Mason challenged his residency.
Nancy Brigman, the town’s acting mayor, told News13 she’s “deeply sorry about the mass exodus” and that “Latta is strong and hopefully we can move forward this time.”
The list of resignations also includes Janet Paschal — the town’s attorney of the last seven years — who cited the current political climate taking a great personal toll. Two town council members have also resigned.
“I’ve never witnessed so many people depart in such a short time,” former Latta Town Administrator Jarrett Taylor said.
Taylor was town administrator for seven and a half years and said the people of Latta deserve transparency.
“I think lots of folks are really frustrated and looking for answers, and they want answers that actually are cohesive with the actions that are being taken by members of council and employees,” Taylor said. “They don’t want to hear something that just looks good for a camera.”
In Paschal’s resignation letter, she predicted the town would be in a legal battle over who’s mayor for the foreseeable future.