LELAND, NC (WWAY) — We are learning more about issues within the Leland Police Department. We’ve told you about the alleged fight between Leland Police Chief Tim Jayne and one of his officers last year during a bachelor party in myrtle beach. Now a witness has come forward.
The fight is just one of many issues within the department that are coming to light.
That witness, whose identity we are protecting because he fears retribution, says the fight was very unexpected.
“They started to drink, have a good time,” the witness said of the people at the party. “(The officer) was taking a drink, and the chief came out of nowhere and just punched him in the stomach. (The officer) spit his drink up, dropped the cup and asked the chief what his problem was. The chief then threw a gin and tonic in his face. Messed his shirt up. He took his shirt off, not to fight, but to get his shirt off because it was messed up. He went to try and confront the chief about it, and he was pulled away by two other high-ranking officers with the department as far as to separate the fight. And that was the end of the fight.”
Word of the fight eventually got back to Leland, where a few town leaders tried to track down details. They say Town Manager Bill Farris later told them it was all just gossip and rumors.
There’s no word on if Chief Jayne was disciplined, but when WWAY sent the Town of Leland a public records request, the town denied our request for any records on an investigation into the fight citing the confidentiality of personnel records.
The allegations of issues inside the department go beyond out-of-state parties, though, including claims that some officers used the police station for sexual liaisons.
“It’s common knowledge,” our source said. “Everybody knows about it.”
Other allegations are downright frightening.
Sources tell us one police officer pulled his gun on fellow officers at the police station at least once. We’ve known about the incident for weeks, but decided not to report it until now and continue to withhold the officer’s name because several people, both inside and outside the police department, said they feared for their safety if the news was made public.
We did however alert District Attorney Jon David of the incident. All he would tell us was that no one had reported it to his office. He never asked for any specific information other than when it happened and said he would let the Attorney General’s office in Raleigh know about it and other issues.
Weeks later, after the Town of Leland and the police department were aware of our investigation into the officer pointing his gun at colleagues, the Town Council directed Chief Jayne to send a letter to the SBI, requesting assistance in an internal investigation.
The letter in part said: “One recent anonymous allegation is particularly troubling in that it alleges that a member of the Leland Police Department pointed a weapon at another member of this department. Our internal review has failed to identify a victim or suspect. I am requesting that your agency investigate this anonymous allegation of criminal conduct. I am also requesting that your agency look into all allegations of criminal conduct by the Leland Police Department.”
We’ve also learned that within days of Jayne sending the letter, the same officer was taken off the street and required to do more training.
Farris told a local newspaper he conducted an investigation into the police department over the summer. However, Town Councilwoman Martha Currie says Farris did not turn over the full results to the town’s elected leaders, instead only briefly showing council members a summary of the investigation. Currie says Farris would only tell her, “You’d be surprised what’s in there.”
We have asked Farris and Jayne several times to respond these issues.
They have either refused to comment or said they cannot comment on personnel issues.
We’ll try again to get answers from town leaders at tomorrow night’s Town Council meeting. It starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.