Jails, courts up and running after Florence

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60 New Hanover sheriff’s deputies were displaced by storm damage

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — A sure sign that things are getting back to normal after Hurricane Florence: court is back in session. Here’s the latest on jails and courts returning to regular operations in Southeastern N.C.:

New Hanover County

Deputies have continuously staffed the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and emergency base camp, according to spokesman Jerry Brewer — even though more than 60 of them do not have homes to return to.

“It was a long two weeks and we are still working to recover,” Brewer wrote in an email. “We have over 20 deputies with total loss of their homes and over 40 with significant loss where they can’t go home. But we are Sheriff Strong and will get through this with the support of each other and the community.”

Brewer said the office is making time-off arrangements for deputies who lost their homes. In the meantime, a donation fund to support those deputies has been set up at www.Paypal.me/NHSOSheriffStrong.

He said the jail did not sustain damage during the storm, and no inmates had to be relocated.

All three counties, plus most of the eastern part of the state, received a special extension for completing court filings. N.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin issued an order allowing court systems in 25 disaster-affected counties until Oct. 1 to finish many proceedings that were supposed to happen between Sept. 13 and Sept. 21.

Starting Wednesday, the New Hanover County Clerk of Court will relocate for three days due to storm damage.

The clerk’s office, ordinarily located on Chestnut Street, will move to the New Hanover County Courthouse at 316 Princess St. The office will be located in Suite 222, the Special Proceedings Office, on the ground floor. According to an alert from the N.C. Judicial Branch, the office will remain there at least through Friday.

The office will only accept emergency and time-sensitive filings.

Brunswick and Pender counties

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Emily Flax wrote in an email that the jail did not sustain damage and inmates were not relocated.

“Our detention facility staff stayed at the sheriff’s office — one shift worked while the other shift slept,” Flax wrote. “It’s all hands on deck during these incidents and our detention facility staff is right there making sure our inmates are safe and taken care of.”

The Brunswick County Courthouse reopened Sept. 25, and regular courts proceedings were expected to resume this week.

Pender County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. James Rowell said he had not heard any reports of damage to the jail.

The Pender County Court system is working from the Court Annex at 100 S. Dickerson St., where people can pay fines.

Reporter Cammie Bellamy can be reached at Cammie.Bellamy@StarNewsOnline.com.