FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: BSL fires police chief for ordering officer to drive son to work

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Submitted: Tue, 08/14/2012 - 8:33pm
Updated: Thu, 07/25/2013 - 6:04pm

BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) — After a two-week investigation into alleged abuse of power, Boiling Spring Lakes told its police chief to turn in his badge today.

As WWAY reported FIRST ON 3, Ballree was suspended with pay last month as City Manager Jeff Repp began investigating an allegation Ballree abused his power as chief. Repp said at the time the allegation was separate from an SBI investigation into Ballree launched earlier this year. The SBI says its investigation is in its final stage.

This morning City Manager Jeff Repp met with Emmett Ballree and decided it was best to move in another direction.

“Based on that investigation and the information that I was able to acquire in these interviews with the officers, it was decided to separate our ties with the chief and move in a different direction,” Repp said.

Officially the city fired Ballree for abusing his position of power by ordering an on-duty police officer to pick up his son and drive him to work in Southport. It’s an act that could be considered a misappropriation of city resources.

“From the Chief of Police it was just not the best of judgement to be used, and if this would have been another officer or if it had been an isolated incident, maybe I would have taken another course of action, but this is the Chief of Police,” Repp said.

Ballree would not talk on camera, but by phone he said he accepts the reality of his firing. He was fired over a disagreement over the direction of the police department.

“We have a very good crop of officers in the police department, and I think they sincerely want to do a good job for the citizens of BSL,” Repp said, “and I think they will under a good chief be able to exhibit that professionalism that they want from the department.”

Ballree also told us he does not plan to appeal his firing and is looking into careers outside of law enforcement.

Repp said Lt. Richard Spenser will continue as acting chief during the search process for the new police chief.


  • Guest123 says:

    What ever happened to BSL officer Jason Collins?

  • Mrs. John Q Public says:

    If this is truly a tax payer issue…thank God we don’t have our last Chief. I do believe we had several police cars tore up with civilian passengers in the car. And the expense of taking children of the secretary to and from school…and there was the one couple that got hauled around to buy groceries and lottery tickets by the Police Dept. So I thought we were doing a lot better with Chief Ballree, I guess I don’t understand why the playing field changed.

  • Guest350 says:

    Thanks for the parting shot, Emmett……..Maybe you can find a job in SC.

  • letupsomebro says:

    You are only right with your point about the ‘general statutes’ but, you miss the point by a mile. They are the taxpayers. The city would not exist without them and yes, they deserve to know all that can be told and frankly, there is more that can be told. The citizens are not whining at all. They are exasperated at the system and they have cause to be. They have been paying a police chief for several years to use the city car and gas as if it were his family car. Heck, for all purposes, he made it that way. You must be one of those flaming liberals that believes the government at all levels is best and they know how to spend taxpayer money the best. This cat has been screwing the city out of dollars, one gas tank after another to go to the store, take kids to their PAROLE OFFICER, etc, etc, etc. And then he has the nerve to say to the State Port Pilot, “…he was still in a state of shock, adding that he was disappointed by the level of punishment.” Further he stated, ““There was an option from everything from verbal warning up to termination, and it seemed like they went right straight to the termination.”

    Well what in the wide world of sports would he expect! He had been abusing city funds via his city vehicle from the day he got here. Just exactly like he did in Mount Olive, by the way. And even though the sorry excuse for a city manager, David Lewis allowed him to get by with it the policy is clear and a new manager is in town. Then not only does he abuse policy using his vehicle for personal use but then he puts an officer in an ethical dilemma requiring him to do the same. Ballree is surprised??? Just what does he think warrants discharge if not that? And if he does not understand the concept of misusing city funds for personal use and requiring an employee to do the same, he should have never been allowed to wear a badge in the first place. Certainly he should have never been invited to our fair city.

    So yes, I guess some citizens are whining. They are whining for their lost funds that could have been kept in their pockets or given some real service to them via the city. After all, it is in fact THEIR FUNDS!

    So what say you? Are you just a liberal that believes government knows best or are you another blind follower of Lewis, and Kinney that will state what a “fine person and civil servant Ballree is”? If you are the latter beware, when the SBI investigation is completed, you are going to have a real hard time explaining your support of the crumb. Can you spell I-N-D-I-C-T-M-E-N-T?

  • Guest what's next says:

    OMG. Where do I begin? Wow! You sure are something! Curtis Ledbetter was let go for doing his job and you no doubt stood behind THAT decision! Now you say they are scumbags for NOT doing their job!!!!
    Well, you said, “I would trust a crook any day over a f…… Cop”. Put your name right out there and I’m sure if the day comes you are being mugged, tortured, shot at, etc., they would be happy to send a CROOK to save your a..!!
    I always have heard the expression, “birds of a feather…………”. Maybe you are a crook! Without your name, we don’t know….but you can be assured, we feel our guess is right on!!!!!

  • Guestppp says:

    thank you for this reply you are so right but the law only stands for ppl the lawwants to get rid of not their pokerbuddies and off time social drinking buddies

  • Justin America says:

    Ok. I love NC statues. Statutes are awesome too. Right up there with you and City / Government officials. They are never wrong and always eager to help me. Now, “you citizens” (Think; 2nd class,) don’t get in the way of City officials or “fellow cop”. Fellow cop thinks higher of himself than he thinks of others.

  • ILM NATIVE says:

    have the right to know when a scumbag cop does not due his job or breaks the law. Hopefully with all these cops being fired or caught not doing their job the public is waking up and seeing what lowlife scumbags they really are. I would trust a crook anyday over a friggin cop.

  • JohnQBSL says:

    Oh where do I begin, first, thank you Mr. Repp for an excercise in outstanding good judgement in your decision to relieve this town of a horrible example of a chief of police. This so called chief of police embodied the epitomy of an inept and corrupt reflection of former city manager David Lewis. I can see the city begin to move in the direction that the tax payers so deserve. Hat tip to you sir, you now have the opportunity to restore the dignity of the police department by recruiting a professional befitting a city of this magnitude. You have a golden opportunity to build your legacy and give the tax payers a top notch police department that the citizens can begin to trust in once again. You make us proud!

  • Guest Reply says:

    “They are dropping like flies around these here parts!”

  • fellowcop says:

    You citizens with this we as taxpapyers deserve the right to know, did you read the article? The man has been dismissed from his duties as police chief. Certain things are protected by NC General Statues. Let city officials do their jobs and quit whining.

  • Guest_Sunshine says:

    I am more concerned about the DA and his intimidation tactics and illegal searches of political campaign volunteers; than a guy driving his kid to school, if he is on-duty 24 hours a day as Chief.

  • Guest327 says:

    I don’t understand why the people who paid his salary cannot be told what he did, as if he abused his power as Chief of Police, that certainly concerns all taxpayers. Secrecy in government is one reason why few still trust it.

  • sunshinepolicy says:

    I understand and feel your pain and I agree you should be able to be told. However, that is not what state law provides. You better believe in a case like this your city and city leaders would love to open up and give you all. It is not there fault they can not! But, laws have changed somewhat in the last year or two and a little more can be given out than before. Keep demanding it and you will get what is allowed. Is the allowable as much as you deserve? No but, again that is not your civic leaders it is state law.

    Now Mr. Ballree and Thanks to God not Chief Ballree can say what he pleases but, if he trys the crap he did in Mount Olive and wants to blame everyone but himself, a lot of truth will get out and it will not be pretty at all. Where in Southport and Shallote he traveled with family in the city car is well known and if he wants to play the victim card fine. What he was doing will be made public! And that friend, is just the very tip of the iceberg.

    Let’s see if Ballree plays the victim card here in BSL like he did in Mount Olive. It will not be a good day for him if he does! He brought this on himself and not the good citizens of BSL. Well former city manager Dave Lewis brought this shame to the city but that is another story.

  • OtherGuest says:

    The public, and notably the voters, are due an explanation when any town employee is dismissed for cause.

    The guise of “personnel matter” is, given any cursory thought, misconceived and misused.

  • JohnQBSL says:

    Personnel matter is protected under law. The subject that has been fired can disclose the reasons why. The law is to protect the subject fired.

  • Guest what's next says:

    Now we need to investigate Mr. Spenser and look into the things he is doing against the “rules”. Come on…let’s keep going!


    I agree!!!!

  • Guest Linda K. says:

    I am not happy with the way things have been done for some time now and I was truly disappointed in the way Emmett didn’t support Curtis as he could and should have and because of that, I am not sad to know what has happened to Emmett. However, Mike is right in the sense that there is really no reason to kick a man when he is down. All of this has to have a terrible affect on Mrs. Ballree! Her health is not good, her son and her husband doing this, and no means to support them! Emmett got what he had coming….let’s leave it at that….and it is sort of refreshing to know there are still people out there with some compassion for their brother in God!
    That’s all I have to say.

  • taxedtodeath says:

    While someone being fired is not something to celebrate reading your take on this, especially as one of our public officials is very, very, sad indeed! No one held a gun to this guy’s head and made him misuse the trust of the city and it’s citizens. But he did anyway and on his own. The fact is, this man did not lose a thing. He threw it away and it seems very likely this was not the first time. Seems like when given a second chance he would have cleaned up his act but he did not! And then you, Mr. Forte, a representative on city council defend this man and talk about how sad it is. What you could be doing is trying to get an audit to find out just exactly how much of our money he squandered running the roads and then try to get it back for our city. I think most are satisfied that the stealing is over and the problem is gone but if you are going to take a stand, let it be for the citizens. After all, that is your sworn obligation. Or, do you represent the guilty and fallen rather than the citizens that voted you in? I do thank you however for showing your true colors publicly for all to see. Good for you and good for the electorate.

  • JohnQBSL says:

    My God aren’t we being a bit mellow dramatic the man is not dead, trample on his grave?. Get a grip, now the city can begin to be a respectful department in the county. Countless people have commented on the poor choice Dave Lewis and Joan Kinney made in hiring him. He can go to work at McDonald’s. Give me a break!

  • Guest1000 says:

    Come on now, he hasn’t been thrown in prison and the key thrown away. It’s time for him to get out of law enforcement, no police officer is above the law.

  • Guestsadcitizen says:

    You find it sad that someone could not play by the rules, abusing his privileges by driving God only knows how many miles over a period of years at the taxpayers expense. And then, because Ballree on his own did this full well knowing he was violating city policy you say he “lost” his livelihood, his career and ability to support his family…..” You call that sad? Commissioner Forte, you are either blind to the facts or you simply do not care to stand up for the citizens that you suppose to represent and prefer to stand up for the one that broke the rules. Let’s get something on and off the table as an indisputable fact right now. Ballree did not lose a thing! Nada, Nothing! Ballree threw his “livelihood, his career and ability to support his family…” out the window on his own when he continuously and willingly drove the city car for and as personal transportation for himself and his family. You took an oath for the citizens and rather than demand an audit to find how much money the city has lost and try to find a way to get it returned you speak of how sad it is for the perpetrator of his actions and not for the people. You find it somehow odd that those that pay the city bills would be happy to see this come to an end after this long time and ignored abuse. No one need to apologize for finding great relief that a person that so abused his privilege and taxpayer funds has been separated from the ability to continue doing so. But it is good as far as enlightenment to see you publicly take a stand for Ballree over the citizens he abused. It is good in deed to see where you stand when it comes to public trust and public funds and who you stand for. Thank you Mike Forte for taking the time while taking sides against all of us that are paying the bills to do so publicly. Now none of us have to guess where you stand.

  • Mike Forte says:

    How sad that a man has lost his livelihood,his career and the ability to support his family and some of you feel the need to trample on his grave. How sad and how small of you.

  • Rusty says:

    Why is it that your heart goes out to the guilty and you have no words of compassion for those citizens that put their trust in a police chief just to find out that he is a crook? Why is it that you find it sad when a man in his fifties continues to abuse city funds is stopped from doing so and therefore protecting the pocketbooks of the citizens? Why is it the duty of the citizens to pay for the taxi service for the two adult offspring of Emmett Ballree all over our county? Are you taking the position our citizens should pay for this? Should the BSL citizens foot this bill, is that what you are saying? Here is what is sad. When a man that lost his job in Mount Olive for highly questionable acts gets a second chance,that grown man hit the jackpot! Not one person in this city held a gun to his head and said, “get in that city car and use it as if it were your own personal vehicle to use at will”! All he had to do was show up to work and follow the rules. But just like in Mount Olive, he could not do it. This is on his hands and his hands alone so do not even try to start a pity party on the citizens. Certainly it is sad if his wife or anyone in his family has health issues. But it was he that violated to rules and he that broke the law. If there is a loss for the family, it is on his hands alone. That is the plain truth of the matter and nothing can change that. Nothing!

  • Guest327 says:

    Any public official that violates the trust of those who pay his/her salary does not deserve disclosure protection under the law. This needs to be changed.

  • Guest2020 says:

    So, do you think that all municipalities should disclose the reasons for all of their employees who get fired?

  • Guest327 says:

    If you would read my post, you would understand the answer is “YES”. An employer (public) has a right to know what they are paying for and when their employee misbehaves, they have a right to know.

  • Justin America says:

    What dept. are you in?

  • Concerned BSL Resident says:

    Now that the chief is gone ,Now that the problems are gone, DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN BRING BACK CAPTAIN LEDBETTER????

  • JohnQBSL says:

    Oh for pete’s sake get over bedwetter good riddance to another “dirty cop” this department is and was full of them. With the chief and the captain gone we need to go one step further and get the lt. gone, then maybe we can begin to build a top notch police department.


    No one wants Ledbetter and his dirty self back in there either!!!

  • Really concerned BSL resident says:

    WOW!!!! GOOD STUFF hapening in BSL. Looks like Mayor White will be with his buddy Ledbetter and Ex-Chief looking for a job. Hey, maybe they can start a private investigation firm together. What all ya all thinking???

  • Gene Barry says:

    At least Mike had the guts to put his name on his remarks and he never said that he did not support the termination all he said was that people were kicking a man when he was down. Get off Mike unless you are going to put your name on your post so you can be held accountable or are you just gutless and want to hid behind a computer screen.

  • ou812 says:

    If you had really read the article of listened to the news you would know this had nothing at all to do with Ballree getting “his kid to school”. The son he was taking to work and back and then having another officer drive back and forth is not a kid. The son is about 27 years old and does not have an operators permit. BTW, there is no mention of him running his ADULT daughter up and down the road to Shallotte but that was a regular going on too. Well then also there are the regular trips for his son to visti his PO in Southport. And to suggest he was working 24 hours a day is indeed hilariously….STUPID!

    No one held a gun to the head of Ballree and made him use a city car and city fuel for personal reasons. He is in his 50’s and it was his choice alone. But of course, this is not the first go around for Ballree. Seems he had the same bad habits when he was in Mount Olive. They ran his butt off also!

    But there is going to be you few that will try to blame anybody at anytime ignoring the truth and supporting a lie. Fortunately, you just won’t have that many believers. It will be far less once the SBI report comes in.

  • JohnQBSL says:

    Driving your “kid to school” or using town property as your own personal vehicle is a lawsuit waiting to happen. The liability is far to much to risk in case of an accident or having to repond to a call just to risky. The tax payers are not responsible for pickig up the tab for unauthorized use of town property. This town has a rich history of corruption, town employees using town property and facility’s for their own personal use. Thousands of dollars of tax payers money has been wasted for many years. More roads could have been paved for the amount of waste that has gone on. I have seen it first hand. It’s time to STOP THE ABUSE!

  • JohnQBSL says:

    He was NOT taking his son to school, it was WORK and his daughter to her PAROLE officer these “kids” are in their middle and late twenties. That is just what was reported, I am sure there is a laundry list of violations he has committed, (remember he is under an SBI investigation) not to mention this is the second SBI investigation. Didn’t he get fired at MT. Olive for a similar incident? BSL need not dump on another unsuspecting town with this rotten apple I hope the State of NC justice dept. takes a good long look at his certification. This man needs to give up pursuing law enforcement. No more above the law antics Ballree.

  • Tired of Ballree Ball Babying! says:

    Wow PublicAvenger, where in the world did you get this taking his kid to school crap??? Can you not read??? Or if you can not, did you not LISTIN to the news. It was taking his kid to work, not school! and btw, as stated in this blog already and accurately, HIS KID IS 27 FRIGGING YEARS OLD! Add, he is also a convicted felon with no drivers license due to several DWI convictions. PublicAvenger, do you now think it is OK for the public trust and public funds be used to taxi around the family? GET REAL! The more the Ballrees and Ballree supporters whine over this the more facts are going to come out. Best for Mr. Ballree to man up just one time in his life and take it on the chin as every bit of this is his own doing alone.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    Clearly it was wrong, to have an officer take his son to school. But thats not a firing offense. I think it was way too harsh.

  • Guest what's next says:

    Now why would you say something like that about Ledbetter?????? You cannot say “no one wants him back in…..”. I for one think it was a HUGE mistake having him leave!!!! I bet I can find many many more people who would agree with me, too!
    The reason YOU wouldn’t want him back in is a personal thing!!!! Not because he didn’t do his job because he did and got fired for it!!! You and your crooked friends will one day find out about KARMA and don’t think you won’t!!!
    What did he do to YOU? Wouldn’t lie for you? Arrest you for breaking the law? Must have been something of that sort……or are you just having a bad day?

  • Russ says:

    Here are some facts the citizens of BSL should have just in case they do not already. When Chief White announced his intentions to retire the city of BSL went into a search for a new Police Chief. A committee was put together for that search headed by then city manager, David Lewis. Along with Lewis was then city Mayor, Joan Kinney. No other person from that council sat on the committee or had any voice one way or the other about the hire. Lewis along with Kinney chose for your city and to be your close neighbor, Emmett Ballree. Here is just some documented history that they had and did not care about and certainly did not share with you citizens.

    July, 2007 Mount Olive, N.C. — The police chief of Mount Olive has resigned amid allegations that he used a town credit card at a gas station to fill the tank of his personal vehicles, authorities said.
    Chief Emmett Ballree resigned late Friday after the town conducted an internal investigation.

    July 1, 2007 Former Mount Olive police Chief Emmett Ballree won’t confirm or deny allegations that he used the town’s credit card to gas up one or more personal vehicles.

    Important- During his tenure as the Mount Olive Police Chief his son, Michael Ballree burglarized that department of one or more firearms. This action earned younger Ballree a felony conviction. This should have been taken into consideration as to who and what we are bringing to our city. REMEMBER THOUGH, LEWIS NEVER LIVED IN THIS CITY and therefore he and his family would have zero effect by this decision.

    Also important, before selected as the BSL Chief, the Ballree family had received protection through the Federal Bankruptcy Courts. Why this is important goes to common since as to the question, how well would a particular person be able to operate within a budget as a department head.

    December, 2007 Ballree hired by Dave Lewis as new BSL Chief. However, and temporarily Ballree was not able to stay on BSL payroll due to refusal of NC training and standards to certify him.

    January 2008 Dave Lewis convinces training and standards to authorize a temporary certification and Ballree is may now legally wear a badge, carry a gun, effect an arrest and be the Police Chief.

    2009 NC Training and Standards holds hearing and finds not probable cause to revoke Ballree’s certification. This is what it is and while it is not an exoneration it does state there is not enough presented to rule against Ballree. He retains his certification and job.

    During the tenure of David Lewis complaints were brought to his attention with allegations of misuse of the city vehicle. Lewis did nothing. Also since coming to BSL legal and criminal problems for the adult children living in the home continue to mount.

    It would seem this abuse continued after Lewis resigned and right up to the time of termination as the reported findings by the new city manager support that abuse.

    Add to this in June of this year a SBI investigation was requested by a Superior Court judge and the District Attorney into possible criminal actions and what would a reasonable person with reasonable intelligence conclude? When you look at the known background before Ballree came here along with continued accusations of abuse of his city vehicle and continuing legal/criminal problems of the two adult children living in the home you have to ask yourself, what in the heck were David Lewis and Joan Kinney thinking?
    They certainly could hot have been thinking about you.

    Now admittedly the Ballree family has had more than their share of very hard times and that is sorrowful. However, all in that family residing in the city are adults and the culpability of the problems rest on the shoulders of those adults. To try to place blame anywhere else is to stick you head in the sand and ignore simple and fundamental facts. Unless you want to add the culpability to the two that brought these problems to the city.

    It is way past time for this action to be taken but we need to look forward rather than backward. We need to see a new Police Chief in this city that not only will make us proud but make the officers proud to work for him. Of course, we need a Chief that will be a good neighbor and one we would be proud to live next door to. The citizens deserve this and so do the hard working policemen that protect us each and every day.

    The above information is easy enough to find on the web. It is quite a bit over a period of several years. To get a complete story on this it would be great if the local news agencies would look into the entire context from start to finish. It is just not that hard to verify. And while questions are being asked of present staff and the city manager, why does the news go back and ask the two that did this and ask them to justify their actions to the citizens now.

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