UPDATE: Leland Town Manager David Hollis says Assistant Police Chief Karl Smith resigned affecting this morning. Smith had been suspended with pay Friday while an internal investigation is continuing.
LELAND, NC (WWAY) — The five Leland police officers suspended Friday will receive pay during their suspension.
Interim Chief of Police Mike James says after he spoke with the suspended officers Deputy Chief Karl Smith, Lt. Bill Kozak, Lt. Rick Dellapia, Officer Michael Landen and Officer John Blasingame he reinstated pay for the days off and any pay the officers would have earned since Friday.
James says he hopes to have the matter completely resolved soon and asks that the community refrain from judgement until all the facts are released from the on-going SBI investigation.
For months, many Leland town leaders said they believe the issues they were hearing about the police department were just rumors, and they are sticking to their story until the sbi investigation comes back.
Mayor Brenda Bozeman said she could not talk about the situation because it involved personnel.
Councilwoman Martha Currie says she believes those conducting the investigation have uncovered enough evidence to move forward with suspensions or the five officers would still be on duty. She says she thinks if the five officers were truly involved in wrongdoing then they deserve to lose their jobs. She says if you do the crime, you have to do the time.
Meanwhile, we’ve also learned that James asked the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office to help investigate his department as well. In a letter to Sheriff John Ingram April 4, James asked that two of Ingram’s Internal Affairs Division “perform an investigation of all personnel within the Leland Police Department.” The letter asked for Capt. Gene Caison and Sgt. Mark Francisco “to administer all interviews and any other investigative functions needed to perform a full and thorough investigation.”
Sheriff Ingram had offered the same service to then Chief Tim Jayne and the town last fall, but the town declined. Jayne was fired back in February.