Wrightsville Beach cop quits, two others demoted after firing appeals
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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Two Wrightsville Beach police officers have been demoted and another has quit. Town Manager Bob SSimpson made the announcement this morning following weeks of investigations into the officers, who the town initially fired.

The officers appealed, and have been on administrative leave since.

"All three of these officers had strong performance records... up until this particular time," Simpson said.

Tuesday the town said Sgt. Rob Miller and Cpl. Shaun Appler have been demoted, had their pay cut five percent and put on probation for one year. Ofc. Michael Altilio resigned Tuesday morning.

"In the case of officers Miller and Apler, it was one specific incident. In the case of atilio, it occurred over time," Simpson said.

The town would not say why the officers were investigated, citing personnel laws. That's not good enough for some Wrightsville Beach residents.

"We as public citizens are inquiring what they did so we know what exactly they did, but they're hiding it," Spencer Roylance said.

Michelle Roylance said, "How can we be certain that our children are safe hanging out with their friends or riding their bikes in their community?"

Simpson says certain department policies may change because of the investigations, but he would not say which ones. He stressed that the town took appropriate action with the officers.

"In layman's terms, they're going to suck it up, press on and be professional," Simpson said.

All three officers investigated have served in the Wrightsville Beach Police Department for more than ten years.

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This has been a long time coming. I'll bet the other officers feel some relief now that Atillio is gone and Appler has to watch his step. He should have gone with Atillio.

Does anyone else find it interesting that John Wessell is the town attorney for both Wrightsville Beach and the Town of Leland? Of which, both are having serious personnel and legal troubles.

Wow John, you may want to step up your legal game...You're going to need it!

On May 3, 2010 I filed a citizen complaint form with then Chief John Carey concerning members of his department and most importantly Then "Detective" Shawn Applier. I listed nine reasons for my complaint. On October 14, 2010 then Chief John Carey sent me a letter stating the investigation had been completed and due to North Carolina general statutes he was not allow to release to me any action taken in this matter. Chief John Carey admitted to me, in his office that sometimes officers get "tunnel vision" in the line of duty. It seems that the current city manager of Wrightsville Beach has "tunnel vision" as well since on TV tonight he stated this was a one time infraction by officer Applier. I find that to be a total false statement and have the paper work in my hand to prove that to be false. I would be pleased to meet with WWAY, the chief of police and the city manager of Wrightsville Beach to discuss the matter.

If you happen to know someone inside the DA's office, local criminal attorneys circle, or local law enforcement - ask if they're familiar with the two that kept their jobs. Won't take you long to hear that they are repeatedly having cases thrown out of court because of their lack of credibility on the witness stand (a.k.a. perjury if you happen to be a citizen). It is commonly known, yet the powers that be look the other way. I have the feeling more info will start to come to light, similar to Bulla's revelation above. Won't take long and these two will be "resigning for personal reasons" as well. WBPD has some great officers, and a good chief trying to clean up the department's longrunning issues that came with the job because the prior chief looked the other way. Hope he can withstand the micro-management of Sisson long enough to do what needs to be done. We support you Chief House.

Right there with you buddy..you said it!

It seems that everyone here is complaining about not enough information being published about this story, but all I had to do was to look at the Lumina News who has been disclosing all of the information about this story for a month. This story has been headline news for awhile...quit complaining and go to another website for information.

How effective can a good police chief be if he is undermined by those who hired him to do the job? Wrightsville Beach's town manager should have stood behind the chief's decision.

What the citizens of WB need to ask is how much money has Appler cost the town. Miller and Appler were both involved in a police brutality and unessacery tazing of some college kids. All this resulted from a taxi stopping in the road to pick up passengers. I witnessed this. Both Miller and Appler are rouge cops. This particular incident resulted in the town of WB settling out of court and paying the kids "hush" money. Once again , all kept quiet, more tax dollers of the residents of WB wasted....Its the good ol boy syndrom. As for this Altillio , I dont know him, but Ive seen him around. He was a cocky big mouth. He evidently was the smart one saving whats left of his career. WBPD is a joke

Appler---Miller you have no future at WB or WBPD, both of you have a history on SCHLOSS ST....quack

Appler and Miller were the ones involved in the unnecessary tazing and police brutality of some college kids that happened to be in a cab that was pulled over. All the cab did was stop to pick up passengers. Funny thing is the Town of WB settled out of court and some people got paid. All of this was kept quiet by WB. Lets see how much time and money can be wasted on these Rouge officers...Appler alone is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Im getting tired of my tax $$ going to waste. I guess this is the good Ol boy system at its best. WBPD is a joke.

They have been there long enough to have something ie dirt on the town manager.

These officers were "recommended for dismissal by Chief House" but the Town Manager says "no, these officers have a future here." Who do you think knows the habits and observes these officers daily and more closely, the Chief of Police or the Town Manager? Here's a new Chief trying to make changes but is blocked by the old guard. What else could the newly hired Chief House have said to the media other than he's o.k. with these guys coming back to work for him...he didn't have a choice since his boss decides who he can and can't dismiss within the Police Department.

§ 132‑1.4. Criminal investigations; intelligence information records; Innocence Inquiry Commission records.
(a) Records of criminal investigations conducted by public law enforcement agencies, records of criminal intelligence information compiled by public law enforcement agencies, and records of investigations conducted by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, are not public records as defined by G.S. 132‑1. Records of criminal investigations conducted by public law enforcement agencies or records of criminal intelligence information may be released by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
Court of competent jurisdiction ie.. Chief District Court Judge

Chief House has received praise from the public for being open and accessible, as well as for his attempts to revamp the police department. He has stated that he is actively looking for weaknesses within the department. In the capacity of CHIEF OF POLICE he found three tenured officers that deserved dismissal - obviously not a decision he made lightly - and acted in the best interest of the town and department.

Now he's been taken to task by the town manager? WBPD has an unusually high turnover rate, possibly due to the antics of some of their "seasoned" employees. Now that WBPD employees feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns to the new chief, the whole department is effectively told to butt out.

How will this affect the moral within the department and the relationships between the two demoted officers and their superiors? It won't take long for the whistle blower to be outed in a department this small. And how will their work environment be affected?

Bottom line - the town manager should have upheld the chief's authority and shown solidarity within the upper management of the town.

Why is it that government agencies think it's perfectly OK to stonewall us on information about their indiscetions while insisting that we should pay them for this privilege with our tax dollars?

There are a few of us who know exactly what events transpired to create this situation. I for one wish that the circumstances would come to light, but not for the reasons you might think.

As with most things in this life, there were gray areas. Two of the officers approached that gray area. I wish the public knew that they APPROACHED the gray area. They did not cross into the black. I also wish the public could know why the officers did what they did, and I absolutely believe that if those facts were publicly known, the public would no doubt come down in favor of these officers.

Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen. We expect our police officers to live at a higher standard than the rest of the public. Right, wrong, or indifferent, our culture insists that officers behave above the law. These officers acted on behalf of a citizen who had called for assistance. The officers believed that citizen was being threatened, and they did what they believed was necessary in order to protect that citizen. In this instance, revealing all the details could endanger the life of that citizen. It's my belief that the officer who resigned did so in large part due to the fact that a further insistence by the media on knowing all the details would have threatened the safety of that citizen. As a citizen, that is EXACTLY the kind of police officer that I want patrolling where I live. An officer willing to lose his job or give his LIFE for me should be thanked and praised.

Our police officers and deputies CHOOSE to put themselves on the line for each and every one of us. Because they know that every call they respond to could conceivably result in their own death, it's obvious they aren't just doing a job strictly to get a paycheck.

People, do you REALLY not get that? Seriously? Are you THAT self-absorbed? Every single one of you that is tarring and feathering these officers are being incredibly short-sighted. You're being sheep, because you only know what the media wants you to know. Really? You're basing your opinions entirely on ONE side of the story. Loudly-braying jackass image comes to mind.

Unless you're willing to become an officer and put your job and your life on the line for complete strangers, you need to sit down and shut up. You see something that you think is all wrong - without fully knowing what the heck you're talking about - and you bray about it, but you're too cowardly to step up and show us all how to be a cop. If you are not willing to to put YOUR life on the line, you need to stop bashing those who do.

You are dead wrong about your statement that unless we're willing to be an officer, we should sit down and shut up. As residents, citizens, and taxpayers, we have the right to question and have input where our government officials are concerned. We absolutely do have a right to question police tactics. This isn't Iran, where the public is expected to do what you're told no matter what. This is America, not a police state where the cops have absolute power over us. Cops are not always above reproach, some have been known to stray...

Dear Guest Pointer, You my friend do not have the facts as you may believe. Purhaps you are friends or coworkers with the involved officers and have been truely mislead. This is why I hope that the truth is revealed to open the eyes of those that are truely innocent to these type of matters. And I don't need to sit down and shut up. Have a safe shift and stand proud.

Yep, and then there are those of us that know exactly what type of officers they are. Not all their actions are as rosey as you claim. While this particular incident may be "approaching gray area" you can rest assured the chief wouldn't have recommended dismissal if it wasn't warranted. Escpecially for a ranking supervisor that is #3 in department seniority. Yes, I've heard "what really happened" from the inside too. But numerous complaints have been made against the two that kept their jobs. Ironically, the one that resigned is held in a higher esteme by most "insiders". And his infraction was for poor choices in his personal life. The other two are over zealous disgraces to the force that think they can lie to cover their actions, bully citizens, and get away with not following the rules. Two wrongs don't make a right. Sure they've chosen to be on the police force. With that choice comes the acceptance that policy, procedure, and law must be followed. You can bet these guys don't give the citizenry much "gray area" when on patrol/investigating.

BTW...Any body look into Miller's & Appler's taser incident of June 2009? Ahh, what warm and fuzzies would the public have if that airs.

Well I almost whole heartedly agree with you. But for the sake of those that do work there, we don't want anyone getting folks mistaken for each other. Miller WAS not the #3 man in senority, he was abit further down the chain. But you hit the nail on the head my friend with most everything else you wrote. I can only imagine how the new Chief and other officers trying to do right feel, particulaly with these two coming back. It's gotta hurt their pride.

Sorry 'bout that, guess I should have said 'longevity'. I think Miller (hired in 96) is right behind the two captains (hired in 82 & 91). Could be wrong on this...but was the info I have. But my point still stands - the chief didn't make the dismissal decision lightly, or for "approaching gray area". Glad you agree, hoping more comes to light. WBPD turn over rate is insane. Maybe if the chief gets his way and fires the demotees he can get a handle on that issue too.

I witnessed this. Miller was in a rage because a cab stopped in the road. In front of the several hundred people. Tazer 2009 should be looked at, and how much settlement money was paid out.

You know the old saying, "You give somebody enough rope..." Well one of the WB officers got all the rope he needed and the other two are still pulling it off the spool, give it time.

When an employee's status changes, the employer obviously has the right to know why. The taxpayers of Wrightsville Beach are the employers of these police officers. Any other explanation is nothing but an attempt by elected and unelected officials to protect their perceived power, and a further infringement on the basic American constitutional rights that are slipping away faster and faster every day.

If you were fired from where you work do you think all the stock holders have a right to see your personel file and know why you were fired?

Private firms are a different animal - Holding public office, or any employement by the public has a whole set of rules. You want to "serve" the public, well then of course you should also answer to the same public.

This is one law that needs revamping.

If people are fired, there's no excuse for not being told why.

It doesn't need to be malicious, just some sort of explanation.

I think taxpayers deserve at least that much.

All we are left with is ? as an explanation.

Not good enough.

Your public employees are making a mockery of your tax dollars and the word transparency. Disgrace.

So the Chief fired them and the Town Manager allowed them to come back. Well, at least we know who's really making the decisions for the PD. Why did WB waste the time and money to find and pay a new Chief if Town hall is not gonna back the big decisions the Chief makes in the department.

i can only speak of one of the officers. he used to be my neighbor. i consider him a friend and other than being a steelers fan he is an honest guy who does his job professionally and truly cares about the people he serves. all this bs about rumors is just that bs. being in law enforcement is a thankless job at times especially when you are constantly under a microsope. give these guys the benefit of the doubt there is no massive cover up to all the cynics out there. try being a cop for one day and you too would understand.