Mayor: Special Called Meeting Monday To Discuss Police Chief’s Arrest

The Mayor of Newton Grove says the town council will hold a special called meeting on Monday to discuss the arrest of Chief of Police Frankie Harrell.

Harrell, the police chief of the small Sampson County town, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at his home in the Bentonville community in Johnston County on domestic assault on a female charges.

The incident stemmed from an altercation with his wife, who was in her van in the driveway of their Devil’s Racetrack Road home.  She was allegedly talking on her cell phone with her brother when Chief Harrell, who was off duty, exited the home and asked his wife who she was talking to.  He then allegedly grabbed her by the neck causing the cell phone to fall from her hand.

His wife called 911 requesting Johnston County deputies to respond.

Chief Harrell, 48, was arrested at his home and taken to the Johnston County Jail.  He was released on an unsecured $1,000 bond after reportedly telling a magistrate he felt unsafe in the county jail.

Harrell has been the police chief in Newton Grove since 2004.

Mayor Gerald Darden told WTSB News, “It’s under investigation. We are investigating with our attorney. It is a personnel matter. I can’t discuss it further at this time.”

Mayor Darden said the Newton Grove Town Council has scheduled a special called meeting Monday at 6:00pm to discuss the incident further.

In a phone call Thursday afternoon, Mayor Darden said Harrell was still the police chief. When asked if he was scheduled to work or was on any type of suspension, Mayor Darden said it was a personnel matter and he could not comment.

Harrell was a former school resource officer with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office assigned to Smithfield-Selma High School and also a former Pine Level Police Officer before being hired 14 years ago in Newton Grove. He had an unsuccessful write-in campaign for Johnston County Sheriff in 2010.