LELAND, NC (WWAY) — The Leland Police Department has been at the center of controversy the past week since we told you about a female officer getting shot in the crotch 12 times with training simulation ammunition.
Since then, allegations against the town’s Police Chief Tim Jayne have surfaced and caused some to say there is a bigger problem at hand. WWAY tried to catch up with town leaders as well as candidates for town council today. Our questions fell mainly on deaf ears, with only three of the nine people we contacted willing to comment at all.
“It doesn’t need to be a he said, she said. It doesn’t need to be, as I said the other night, it does not need to be an internal investigation. It needs to be an external investigation, and the results need to be made public. The public needs to know what’s going on,” Leland Town Council candidate Jane Crowder said.
Crowder says it’s time for progress, and that means getting answers.
We tried to find those answers Tuesday. Of the four sitting council members, only one decided to comment.
Council member Martha Currie said any decision about where the town will go from here is up to Town Manager Bill Farris. She said if he does not do something soon, she thinks the council will step in.
We tried to speak with Farris again Tuesday, but were told he is out of town until Friday.
Mayor Pro Tem and unopposed mayoral candidate Brenda Bozeman said she cannot say much about the situation because she has been advised by the town attorney not to talk about personnel issues.
We directed Bozeman and the town attorney to the state statute on privacy and personnel records, which says information such as disciplinary actions may be released if it is essential to maintain public confidence in the administration in question.
Of the leaders we were able to catch up with Tuesday, all seem to agree on one thing: The controversy surrounding the Leland Police Department as well as Chief Jayne is a distraction that needs to be taken care of.
“The people need to know,” Crowder said. “Yes, we see it in writing and people see it and go, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ but we need to know the truth.”
We have not heard back yet from Bozeman or the town attorney about if information concerning officers involved in the incidents will be released.
We did hear back from council candidate Donn Garvey, who said these distractions are not allowing the leland community to be served well, but that more information needs to be released.
The majority of the council and candidates did not return our calls. We called council member Herbert Barnes at 10:20 a.m. and did not get a call back and Pat Batleman at 10:25 a.m. and never heard back.
Council hopefuls Jon Tait and Kerrie Wallace have not returned the calls we made to them around 10:45 a.m.
Police Chief Tim Jayne did return our call. He said, “There is not a comment and will not be a comment from my agency to your fine news station.”