ONLY ON 3: Audit leads to Leland police officer relieved of duty, questions about accountability
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LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- Missing documents. Officers not up to date on their training. In one case, it was so severe, an officer was relieved of his duties. That's some of what state regulators uncovered during a recent audit of documents and training files at the Leland Police Department.

Every single one of the 31 full-time and reserve officers had something missing from their files. In some cases, even the most basic information was not there.

For five officers, fingerprints weren't on file and citizenship information was missing.

Six officers were missing psychological exams.

In three cases, the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education Training and Standards Commission couldn't read the birth certificates.

Plus, 25 officers had incomplete background investigations.

Now, on to mandatory training. One officer is missing 10 hours. Four officers remain eight hours short. Another is four hours short. Four other officers are two hours short. Plus, there were at least 25 instances where a training certificate was on file, but there was no proof of the hours of training.

Perhaps the most surprising discovery is what Training and Standards had to say about Ofc. John Blasingame. He did not complete his mandatory in-service training in 2009 due to his military commitment. He received a waiver, but the commission has not received the duty request.

Since he has not completed his 2009 training, Blasingame is not authorized to perform any law enforcement duties until duly authorized to do so by the Criminal Justice Standards Division. Put blunty, Training and Standards said Ofc. Blasingame must be relieved of his duty immediately.

Two weeks ago, we asked Leland Town Attorney John Wessell about Blasingame's employment status. Wessell denied that Blasingame's status had ever changed, even though Training and Standards had told the Leland Police Department to send him home October 6.

We called Police Chief Tim Jayne to get his response about the lack of adequate record keeping within his department, but he quickly said he was in the middle of something and would try to call back. He has not.

We then tried Leland Town Council. Mayor Walter Futch, Pat Batleman and Herbert Barnes did not call back. Martha Currie was on her way out of town. She says she has begged Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Bozeman for an independent review of the police department, but she won't do it.

Bozeman said she had not seen the full report, but said she would get either Jayne or Town Manager Bill Farris to call us back. Farris did in fact call back and told us who was responsible for keeping up with the records.

"From my perspective it would be two people in charge," Farris said. "One of them was Chief (Osey) Sanders from 2005 up to 2008, and then Chief Jayne from that point on."

Chief Jayne says 85 of 89 of those deficiencies have been corrected. Now the question remains what about the arrests or tickets written by those officers who were not up to date on their training?

We ended up going in circles.

The Department of Justice, speaking for Training and Standards, referred us to the District Attorney's office. The District Attorney's office told us Training and Standards would have to answer that question. DA Jon david was unavailable, because he was in meetings.

Even though Training and Standards told the police department on October 6 that Ofc. Blasingame must be relieved of his duty immediately, the town manager and attorney have no record of that. They told us Blasingame was suspended for one month without pay on October 24, but Farris says that is for an unrelated incident. No one, though, would tell us what that was.

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Why is it ok for Police Officer to be deficient in proper standards? Can they brush off drivers not having: current license or registration, insurance, etc...Their quick to write tickets but are no better themselves.

the Leland police are the worst police dept as i was in violation of assault of a female and I stood there and never was asked anything just arrested and sent to the hell jail over there.
No one wants to hear a story about assault but when you did nothing but want to leave and push that person out f the way isn't assault but one cocky cop over there didn't see it that way nor ask and he is the little new york guy with a big ego and probably no training.
I will never go back to Leland if my life depended on it as long as those little kids run that town as they gang up on everything they do and sport those cars around like there theirs.screw Leland.

is deficent in his training and is for all intense purposes not a recognized officer are any arrests, tickets, etc. valid?? Bet some of them could be beaten in court. Time for everyone who has had a run in with this dude to get a good lawyer and sue the pants off all of them..KEEP DIGGING WWAY I THINK YOU WILL EVENTUALLY HIT PAYDIRT.

"all intense purposes"?? You have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

I agree ILM NATIVE......more than likely the tickets will be beaten in court.... IF a LEO can't testify in court, the DA's Office has NO choice but to diusmiss it or throw it out??? And if your certifications/training is not up to standard, then you should be dismissed/placed on leave until the matter if cleared up. Too much of the "good ol boy network". Keep digging WWAY so far you have been able to expose more than the mayor/Chief was willing to tell us.

Why is it that other news organizations report that Leland has 89 deficiencies having to do with training certifications and WWAY singles out ONE individual? Other news organizations report that there is at least one deficiency for each of the town's 31 full time and reserve officers, yet Blasingame is singled out by WWAY. You can't tell us that WWAY doesn't have it out for certain individuals with this type of reporting.

I wanted to respond to this comment.

Who inside the Leland Police Department is important enough to be singled out by a news organization? Do you think that someone at WWAY got a ticket and just decided to start picking out random officers to blame?

WWAY is following a story. That is what news organizations do. Do you watch the news channels to see the same story over and over again? There is a difference. That is the reason you will see different news organizations cover different stories. I split between WWAY and WECT and I find it rare I see the same story on both stations. That is why I split.

Like or hate WWAY's coverage I don't believe it fair to say they are trying to single out an officer.

Guest10:

Thanks for your comment.

Ofc. Blasingame was the ONLY officer sent home by North Carolina Training and Standards for the lack of paperwork in his file. No one else was relieved of duty due to lack of paperwork. That's why he's singled out.

sp

Scott Pickey
WWAY News Director

Although I have been very critical in the past, and will continue to be critical when WWAY takes a shrill, hyperbolic, and tabloidesque tone, I think WWAY is to be commended for this fine reporting. This exposure of corruption helps keep our government in check and has brought light onto issues citizens need to be made aware of. Your reporting of issues like this and the Elder Abuse scandal a few years ago are among the stories that represent what WWAY should aspire to.

Could this be the first crack in that big blue wall that has been protecting Tim & his boys?

The final responsibilty for what happens or doesn't happen in the police department is the chief of police. If the chief isn't aware of where his officer's stand in their training..he needs to be replaced.

i so agree......i live here in Leland and cant not belive all of this has been going on this long!!!!

The Legend says that every employee should have a growth and learning plan. He says that when managers allow employees to function withoput a growth and learning plan they become stagnant, and become the goverment employee who just goes through the everyday routines.

Managers who stagnate the work place without options are not really managers. They are just working towards retirement not for the public.

I gaurantee you that most of your bad apples will resign at the mear mention of his name.

He will provide (Smart) Goals

Specific
Measurable
Action riented
Realistic
Time Bound

He will determine what issues and opportunities are present.

Lets have real management some one who has proven he can get the job done, generate revenue, keep budgets low, and provide a large rerturn on citizens investment. The Legend is the only choice! David Hollis---- call the Legend.

all i want to know , if this is true , now what whats going to happen to every ones tickets who paid and there courts fines
if some one was pulled over for a dwi or a dui ,, will that get thrown out of court ,because he or they did not have the prober training ,, of course it will be in the d.a hands and the d.a should be counted for this too ,,, not checking to the matters , boy there is alot of heads turnning right now ,, and a lot of people in jail want to know if they can be release ,,,,,

Who is the Legend?

I had the same question!

How much of a "Legend" can this person be...if folks don't know who it is?

I can tell you who it's not its not Tim Jayne, William Farris, Jimmy cant keep no help Strickland, Donna everybody has filed a grievance against me Strickland, Alycia special priviledges Mintz, or Carol un-replaceable Floyd.Or Ashli Harass good citizens Barefoot.

Thats at least narrows the field some for you.

Don't worry, the list will get smaller.

when we going to see some emails WWAY?

Some say its Ron Hewett and some say the old chief
HAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHA

Ok Mr. Wessell why does officer Blasingame not have his department issued vehicle any longer? Why did the town bring a K 9 out of retirement to replace Officer Blasingame's? His status never changed?

Mr. Wessell you are either a liar or you need to spend some time in Leland and investigate the truth. I find it rather strange that a town's attorney has a private practice in another town. Maybe if you spent more time on Leland you would be better prepared with your facts.

If my memory serves me correctly, Stephanie Blassingame was one of the first to defend her husband, his service records, and his fellow officers back in September. Irony at its best.

Hopefully the new town manager will be looking at new Town Attorney as well. Mr. Wessell is so blinded by Tim Jayne that it is almost pathetic.

I am not very well informed about much of these findings but I have had many interactions with the Leland PD due to shoplifters and other criminals at a store that I worked at in Leland. I found every last one of them to be helpful, professional, thorough, and efficient. I was always very grateful for their assistance and quick response.