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Choice of interim chief defended
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The reason behind interim Pembroke Police Chief Stacy Strickland’s departure from a job he held in Effingham County surfaced this week when an anonymous blogger posted a copy of an old newspaper story on

The Feb. 10 story from an area paper said Strickland - who was appointed to the position earlier this week after the surprise resignation of Chief Bill Collins - resigned from the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department after an incident involving false 911 calls. It led to another deputy being fired.

Strickland, then a corporal with ECSD, said Friday that he didn’t make the 911 calls but gave his resignation because the issue was causing trouble for his family.

"I did not do it. Sheriff McDuffie knows exactly what went on because those responsible admitted to it." Strickland said. "I resigned because it was time to go at that point."

Effingham Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie had nothing but positive things to say about Strickland.

"He did us a good job here, and aside from the allegations from the 911 incident, there was nothing else negative in his record," McDuffie said. "The officer that was fired was let go because he had other complaints in his file."

"I think Stacy is well capable of doing the job as Pembroke’s interim police chief," he said.

Yet some are questioning Pembroke officials’ decision to name Strickland interim chief. Pembroke resident Martha Smith said the decision didn’t make sense to her.

"(Strickland) has been on the force a short period of time. What about Pat Kile as the interim chief?" Smith said.

Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook said that though Pat Kile has been part of the Pembroke Police department around 18 years, he has been out on sick leave and could not take the position even if it had been offered to him.

"I can’t say what was discussed in executive session, but with Kile being out on sick leave, we couldn’t ask him to come back from leave to be interim chief," she said."We chose Stacy Strickland because we felt he was the most qualified for the position at this time. It’s an interim position, not permanent."

Cook said the city checks the backgrounds of applicants closely.

"There was a letter of recommendation from Sheriff McDuffie in his file. He has extensive history in law enforcement in multiple capacities. Strickland is qualified for the job," she said.

Sgt Gary Jarriel of the Guyton Police Department said much the same.

"He’s still a part time officer with our department. He is a good officer and with his background and history in law enforcement along with his education, he is a great asset to the department. When we found out about the appointment to Pembroke, we immediately called to congratulate him," Jarriel said.

The false 911 calls reportedly were made at Rincon pay phones and responded to by Rincon police. The incident also led to the demotion of an ECSD sergeant.

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