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ONLY ON 3: Leland Town Council doesn't have to hide behind "personnel issues"

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LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- The Leland Town Council has been very quiet regarding ongoing reports of problems within the Leland Police Department. Some say they can't discuss them because they're "personnel issues."

Mayor Walter Futch admitted last week he is "out of touch" on many issues because he lets Town Manager Bill Farris deal with disciplinary problems and he only deals with policy issues.

Currently, the council has had to deal with former Leland Police Officer Sherry Lewis, who was shot 12 times between the legs with simulation ammunition by fellow officers during a training exercise. Just minutes after agreeing to pay Lewis $25,000 to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission harassment complaint she filed, Farris denied on camera knowing about the shooting.

There is also the issue of Chief Tim Jayne taking city cars to a condo at Myrtle Beach to celebrate at a bachelor party and where he ended up punching Officer John Hollman during the party, according to two independent sources we've talked with.

No one will say if the officers involved in Lewis's shooting have been disciplined. No one will say if Jayne's use of city property for personal business has been investigated. No one will tell us if Jayne was discipled for striking another officer.

Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Bozeman is running unopposed for mayor in November. She refuses to comment on any of these allegations because she says they are "personnel matters."

Councilman Herbert Barnes, who is also running again in November, chose not to call us back Tuesday. Neither did Councilwoman Pat Battleman.

State law though says they don't have be afraid about talking about personnel issues in public, if the problems at hand are damaging the credibility of the department.

North Carolina General Statute § 162A-6.1 (7) states that Farris, with the approval of council, can talk with anyone, including the media, about someone's personnel file if it means maintaining public confidence in the Leland Police Department.

Pender County Sheriff Carson Smith used the law in 2009 when he shared the personnel file of Sergeant Michael Lewis. He was demoted after he helped rescue malnourished horses contrary to orders given by the sheriff. Some in the animal rescue community were angry that Lewis would be punished for trying to help. Sheriff Smith said he wanted to show that Lewis was being insubordinate.

Many we've talked with in the Leland Community say they are losing confidence in both their police department and council because no one is addressing the problems reported over the past week and a half.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Two sides to the story

I am truly disgusted by some of the comments I have read on this website over the course of the last week. How quick you all are to jump to conclusions? A vast majority of the citizens of Leland only know one side of the story and as with anything, there are always two sides. I personally support the fine Officers that make up the Leland Police Department. It takes a special person to wake up every day knowing they are going off to work to face the scum of the Earth and then to have to deal with pointless, fabricated stories such as this on top of it all just isn't fair. I'm not trying to say that anyone is perfect, but I don't think it is right to attack these individuals without knowing all of the facts. Keep in mind that the second you are in trouble, these same "idiots" are gonna be the ones coming to rescue you. Have a little bit more respect people, you would want the same.

Geez

Donna Get a Life! Your a huge part of the problem. It's time to clean house including you!

You are disgusted with the wrong people

Proud citizen you are right. There are two, actually three sides to most stories. The conflicting sides and what those listening want to believe. I think the majority of the comments here were directed at the alleged actions, not individual officers. When you sign up to be a police officer, you are taught the first few days that you are held to a higher standard. If these were a stock people, or other low level associates at Wal-Mart, this would not be an issue. These are police officers that arrest people, write citizens tickets that affect insurance rates, seize property, and take people’s lives when they deem it necessary. I think their judgment is fair game. I think the leadership of the chief, allowing officers to shoot near another’s employee’s crotch, going to a bachelor’s party and perhaps getting into a physical confrontation needs explaining. This station has repeatedly offered the PD and or the city to do so. You should be upset with these local government taxpayer funded employees; not the commentators.

Where is the Mayor?????

Where is that Loud Mouth Walter Futch? He Pines on about a bridge, that in all likelihood will never be built, Is constantly verbally challenging the Mayor of Wilmington on issues He does not agree with and brags how He is just looking out for the best interest of Leland. Now when apparent and serious misconduct is running rampant within The Town of Leland, The Main Man, The fearless protector of the Towns Interest is suspiciously quiet. Where is that Big Mouth Now? It is quietly crawling in a hole waiting for His term to expire. Makes One Wonder, Is He complicit in any of this tawdry behavior? As it starts to spill forth its a fair question. Perhaps the once Loud Mouth Mayor is hoping the SBI does not come into town and start snooping.

Stand up and be heard

Sounds like the public officials had better speak now or forever hold their peace. Keeping silent and avoiding the media only raises more questions about there town. Public trust has to be earned and is so easy to lose when allegations are made and the officials are not standing up to defend themselves and the people they serve.

The statute

says they can talk. Does not say they have to talk.

And, clearly, they're playing like the 3 monkeys who see, speak, and hear no evil.

Voters should remember that come election time. And that includes holding the DA & County Sheriff accountable if they will not request intervention by the SBI or that accredidation agency.

Those whom may have answers

Tim Evans? Can we see his file, why did he leave? was he fired. was he shot in the crotch, did he drive vehichles drunk, why is there unqualified people running that department.. ummmmm

leland police

You have plastered this lady's name and picture all over your news cast. why don't you show us who the perverts are that shot her?

Leland

Unless Jon David or Sheriff Ingram invite in the SBI to do a through investigation, the truth will never be discovered in Leland.

Will the town of Leland call in the outside agencies on themselves? I think not!

I guess it is time to take it old school and go door to door to get petitions signed. Maybe then a through investigation will discover what really is and has gone on, inside the Leland Police Department.

Trust is essential

I really think it would be malfeasance and a travesty if the manager and or city council does not show the community these recent police department issues are considered very serious and have been addressed for all to know. Police officers are a group of employees that can take your property, or take your life with very little oversight. A community needs to think they can totally trust these employees and the city they work for with the immense amount of authority and descretion that they have. To all a good day.

You speak the truth

You speak the truth fellowcop.

I'd love to have this job

I will add that if the right act of leadership is exercised by city leaders and the police chief's position becomes available, my application will be one of the first to arrive at city hall. For the more than 76k a year they are paying this chief, I would love the chance to straighten out this PD and regain the law enforcement trust for the fine and deserving citizens, business owners, and visitors to the Town of Leland. Well qualified applicants are waiting in the wings city leaders. What do you really want?