Residents torn, want answers as police chief remains on leave

At a commission meeting on April 12 in the City of Sherrill, acting police chief Bob Comis attempted to reassure residents as their police chief Jim Hastings remains on leave of absence.

Hastings has been on a two-week paid leave of absence, which is soon set to expire, after new findings in the Feb. 16 overdose of his 6-year-old grandson on methamphetamine. The boy was allegedly in the Hastings' home hours prior to the overdose which caused him to hallucinate bugs and sweat profusely.

The child was picked up by his mother Melissa Hastings and put to bed that evening. She later rushed him to the ER at approximately 1 a.m. when he awoke screaming and having hallucinations. Recent testing showed that he had been previously exposed to the drug.

Chief Hastings and his wife have been denied visitation with the child by family court.

Residents of the community came out to ask questions and support their chief.

"We brought this out as soon as we were notified," said commissioner Bill Vineall, when a resident asked why notification was delayed.

Bob Comis declined to give any forthcoming answers regarding code of ethics violations or information that might be given to the public regarding the chief's grandson.

"I can only take care of what we have control of," he said. Vineall said the city has hired an investigator to gather information in regards to the case.

Many residents questioned why the chief has not been allowed to see his grandson, citing that normally that would imply wrong doing.

The fact that Neal Rose, a judge for the city, is representing the Hastings family also came into question. Many said it was an "obvious" conflict of interest.

Comis said that anything done by the commission would be kept private. "We're monitoring the situation to see what, if anything, has occurred."

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