Former Kenly Police Chief Josh Gibson and all of the full-time officers of the Kenly Police department resigned on Wednesday (July 20) in protest of the town's new manager Justine Jones, who is a Black woman.
Per the resignation letters obtained by WRAL, a hostile work environment led all of the officers to leave their position one month after Jones was hired.
Gibson noted in his resignation letter that the town has made "substantial progress that we had hoped to continue."
The former police chief went on to say that he no longer believed progress was possible with Jones at the helm.
"The new [town manager] has created an environment I do not feel we can perform our duties and services to the community," Gibson said in a statement on Facebook.
Following the mass resignation, the town is left with three part-time officers to run the entire police department, which serves 2,000 people.
An emergency town meeting was held on Friday (July 22) to address public safety concerns due to the now-understaffed department, Kenly town attorney Chip Hewett said.
"We just learned about this [Wednesday], it affects the entire police dept and staff members, we are looking at having an emergency special meeting to figure out how to move forward with it," Hewett told WRAL.
Two town clerks also submitted resignation letters leaving Kenly down seven full-time positions.
Gibson said he would consider rejoining the police department if Jones was fired.