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14 DWI cases dismissed after officer resigns

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- More than a dozen DWI cases lost, because a cop quit the Southport Police Department. The officer resigned in the face of an investigation by the SBI. Now Brunswick County prosecutors are dealing with the set-back.

Southport Police Chief Jerry Dove says law enforcement symbolizes public trust and faith.

"All we have is our character and our reputation," Dove said. "Without that, we are ineffective as law enforcement officers."

Honor, integrity and high moral character are the characteristics Chief Dove looks for when hiring officers, but when that trust is betrayed, he says it affects the entire community.

"It's hard to tell what is in a man's heart. This officer just forgot who he was and what he represented and what he stood for," Dove said.

Benjamin Rivenbark was assisting Boiling Spring Lakes Police in a drug bust June 12. Another officer noticed money missing from the house, and that's when Rivenbark became a suspect. Rivenbark is now under investigation by the SBI for stealing the money. Not only has Rivenbark damaged his reputation, but also damaged the judicial system.

"Once an officer's credibility is damaged, the DA has no choice in the matter," Dove said.

Rivenbark resigned from the police force June 24. That led Brunswick County prosecutors to dismiss 14 DWI cases last week, because they cannot prosecute a DWI without a witness.

"It cuts deep," Dove said. "Certainly these individuals may, or may not have, injured themselves or others and now they're going scot free."

Chief Dove says they are looking to fill Rivenbark's position as soon as possible. The Brunswick County Da's office has not returned our calls for comment.

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BE THANKFUL-------

1st-He should go to jail/court, 2nd-He should have to pay restitution to the PD, 3rd-he should have to do community service, like wear a sign the says what he did and who he was when he did it! 4th-he should never be allowed to go into anything in the law enforcement field - not even a prison guard (unless he's an inmate) and last - you can't blame anyone else (boss, parents, teachers, etc) for a grown man's actions. You should only blame him!!! Maybe even a prayer for him and his family and freinds, whom I'm sure are embarrassed by his actions. "BE THANKFUL" THAT IT'S NOT YOU OR SOMEONE YOU MIGHT BE RELATED TOO!!!

Are there any other cases

Are there any other cases other than DWI cases being thrown out? Even though the cop was a bad cop, he can't manipulate the breathalizer or the blood alcohol level. This is just another way to keep the drunks on the road.

Bad cop

Welcome to the Hoke County Hilton, population you.

Crook

WOW, hope he got enough cash to post bail. Is he going to serve time in the same jail as the people he arrested? Maybe he can get a job with Ronald Hewitt! Are you sure there weren't any drugs missing?

How it's done up North

First, no officer takes money for himself.

Second, you never take ALL the money. A representative sample is kept for evidence. You can't blow a bust because of greed.

Third, any money taken is turned into the detective or officer tasked with maintaining the slush fund.

The money is then available for all the officers when the kid needs braces, when the car needs a new transmission, when you're a little short for vacation, etc. When the pot starts getting too big, as it always does, most is divided and distributed before a major holiday. The guys in the tactical units and really jumping precincts could literally buy a car every year before Christmas.

See, Rivenbark was simply a crook, rather than a team member looking out for his brother officers.

This is the second Southport

This is the second Southport Officer within a year to find himself in legal trouble. First one ended up in jail for 30 days and now this one steals from a house. Think its time for a new chief who can control his men.

Lets not forget the rest

You're right. I one year, one for contempt and one confessed to stealing the money and was "allowed to resign". That was too nice. Simple; he committed larceny; FIRE HIS @$$!

Let's not forget the others. One with PTSD was not handled correctly and committed suicide. One turned into a crack head. And my personal favorite; one shot his wife. All under the current chief and in the last 7 years. When is enough going to be enough?

i agree.......

the man has gone through how many officers, which have been in legal trouble. saying he is sorry over and over does not fix it. one cop has been arrested for stealing he hired him. now this person is on the payroll. How many times can the citizens deal with this over and over? he is hurting people by hiring idiots.

Even if an officer resigns

Even if an officer resigns or retires, he should still be able and required to serve as a witness in cases of those arrested while he was a sworn officer. This is absurd to let all these drunks run and drive with no consequences on the roads of Brunswick County, NC. Between crooked cops that get caught stealing and an incompetent DA office, this is definitely the place to be to drink and drive.

Well since the officer may

Well since the officer may have stolen from the house and it makes his a LESS CREDIBLE witness. Sometimes its better off just dismissing the cases. Its hard to be a witness against someone when the cross examiner is like "Aren't you that guy that stole the money from the house? So why should we trust your accusations?"....get it?

Yes, you jerk, I get it...I

Yes, you jerk, I get it...I am just tired of drunks getting off the hook so easy in Brunswick County, and you should be, as well. If the cop was creditable at the time of arrest, I think he should still be obligated to testify. What happened after that has no bearing on the arrest he made. Maybe some of the cases would be heard and maybe some convictions would be forthcoming. The breathalyzer results speak for themselves. All the cop would have to do is tell his story. I am quite sure that jurors could look past the officers reason to resign and still come up with a conviction. Not really sure what the judge might do, though.

Sure

swear in the former officer. Unfortunately, his credibility is zero. His professionalism and integrity come under attack; case dismissed.

Why incur the expense when the outcome is already known?

On the other hand, if the Officer is convicted and given an active jail term, send some clear facial shots to the facility where he will serve his sentence. Former officers are always popular when serving time.

The issue is the officer's

The issue is the officer's credibility and the integrity of his investigations. When his actions are called into question, then his credibility and integrity go out the window.