LELAND, NC (WWAY) — For months, we have been following the developing situation within the Leland Police Department. The many issues came to a head last week when Chief Tim Jayne was fired.
Today, we sat down with Interim Police Chief Karl Smith to find out what he has planned for the future of the department.
Officers say that was the first step at making necessary changes at the department to restore confidence in the community, but Smith says he does not think the department is broken.
“I’d say we’ve got some steps to take to get to the level that we want to be, but I don’t know any department from around the nation that doesn’t,” Smith said. “We’re gonna get there. We’re moving forward.”
Smith says it is time to get back to business in Leland. He says he knows the town doubts the department, and he thinks it’s time things change.
“The citizens need to have confidence in the police department, so that’s our priority right now is getting that, and one of the ways we’re going to work on that is getting the officers’ confidence back in the department,” Smith said.
Smith says it’s been a rough couple of months for the officers in Leland with all of the allegations and controversy centered around the department and former Jayne.
Smith says citizens can expect to see more officers in their neighborhoods with increased patrols. He also wants to hear from the community so he knows what changes to make to truly improve the police force in Leland.
“We want to hear those things, good or bad,” Smith said. “It kind of gives us a measure of what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong, so we would like to hear the comments that the citizens would have.”
Smith says he first plans to improve the morale of his staff, and he hopes that will overflow into the community.
Smith says he is not sure what the town’s plan is to fill the chief position permanently, but he does plan to submit an application to be considered.
When we asked how he felt about Jayne being fired, Smith said he would like to keep his opinion about the issue private.