LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Nearly five months after WWAY first broke the story of Leland Police officer Sherry Lewis being shot in the crotch during a training exercise, the man at the top is out. Town Manager David Hollis says he fired Police Chief Tim Jayne first thing this morning.
“I think it’s time to move in a new direction,” Hollis said. “I want to bring in a police chief that can provide a high level of professionalism and help move us forward.”
Hollis says he e-mailed Jayne Tuesday night to meet him in his office Wednesday at 9 a.m. to tell him the news. The firing comes just weeks after Hollis asked the town council to release the fact that Jayne had been on probation since September.
“I believe it’s the right decision to make,” Hollis said. “It’s not a decision that has come easily or lightly. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I just believe it’s the right decision to make as a town and move forward at this point.”
Hollis claims the ongoing SBI investigation into the department has nothing to do with his decision, and he has not spoken to anyone from the SBI recently.
We stopped by Jayne’s house this afternoon to get his side of the story, but no one answered the door.
Hollis says firing Jayne is just one of many reorganizational changes. Three administrative positions and one job in the Building Inspections Department were also eliminated. Hollis says the decision was not based on low performance, but strictly on the reorganization.
“I take no pride in doing this,” he said. “It’s not a glorious day by any means. It’s something I take seriously, and I’m affecting people’s lives by making these decisions, and I don’t take that lightly.”
He believes these changes will improve Leland in the long run.
“I’m hoping that we can move forward and provide better customer service, that we can instill some confidence back in the town and the town government,” Hollis said.
Deputy Chief Karl Smith will serve as the interim Police Chief.
By the way we also called Mayor Brenda Bozeman to get her take on Jayne’s termination. As usual, she refused to talk with us.