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FIRST ON 3: Leland upholds officer firings

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Leland upholds officer firings
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LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- Leland Town Manager David Hollis says he is upholding the terminations of three police officers fired earlier this year.

The town fired Lt. Bill Kozak, Lt. Rick Dellapia and officer John Blasingame in April after an internal investigation conducted by the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.

"We are moving forward with a stronger dedication to serve and protect the citizens of Leland," Hollis said in a statement. "We hope to put the events and uncertainty of the past behind us. It is our determination to stay focused on maintaining a superior respectful and service oriented police force. We will be diligent in this regard."

The investigation and the officers' dismissals came after months of controversy regarding the Leland Police Department and uncovered by a WWAY NewsChannel 3 investigation.

The town said in a statement that the three formers officers were notified in writing by
certified mail that the town will adhere to the North Carolina General Statutes in releasing any
further details regarding the terminations.

According to the letters the town released, the officers was fired for each committing the following violations:

-Dellapia: Violation of rules of conduct, insubordination, unbecoming conduct, courtesy, supervision and truthfulness.
-Kozak: Violation of rules of conduct, unbecoming conduct, courtesy and supervision.
-Blasingame: Violation of rules of conduct, insubordination, unsatisfactory performance, unbecoming conduct.

The town did not provide specifics, citing personnel laws.

“This is what the law requires us to give out so this is what we're giving out,” Hollis says.

The fired officers' attorney, Thomas Hicks, says he found out about Hollis’s decision a week ago. Hicks says Dellapia and Kozak are accused of being responsible for injuries to former Leland police officer Sherry Lewis, shot with simunition during a training exercise. Blasingame, he says, was fired for something he had already been disciplined for.

Hicks says his new focus is getting unemployment benefits for all three officers. As for Hollis, he hopes the town can now finally focus on the future.

“Hopefully we can have the community behind us as we continue to make it a better place for the citizens here,” he says.

Hicks says Blasingame is currently getting unemployment benefits. Dellapia and Kozak both have appeal hearings next week to get unemployment benefits.

Before their firings, the three officers were suspended along with Deputy Chief Karl Smith and Ofc. Michael Landen. Smith and Landen then chose to resign.

The town fired former Police Chief Tim Jayne February 1. Hollis also denied Jayne's appeal. Mike James has been serving as interim chief since late February.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Timillicky!!!

They did it to themselves! Timillicky go bye bye! Say's who!? Say's Kblue!!!

Mr. James chief?

If any of you had questions about who the new police chief will or would be in leland, the decision has been made. Mr. James is telling everyone that the job is his if he wants it. So what happened to finding the best person for the job?

I think he's handled himself

I think he's handled himself very well. Do you have a better person? Do you have someone who has no ties to the department, someone that can come in a clean up the mess he had? I think not. Chief James has more than proved himself. Coming from emergency services myself I think his very professional in the way he handles his job. Find something else to complain about leave the chief and Leland Police department alone.

Can you think of someone

Can you think of someone better.

New Chief

He is the best person for the job and that is clear. He has done nothing but what has been good for Leland since he got here and I think everyone agrees. As for him telling people that, I very seriously doubt there is any truth to that at all.

New Chief

First of all, the decision has NOT been made. Second, Mr.James has done nothing but what has been good for the town of Leland since day 1. I applaud him and his efforts to turn around the PD. He's done a great job and there is no reason for the job not to be his and I think most everyone seems to agree except for you, who is probably one of the fired officers or one of their family members. Let it go already.

Foiled takeover attempt

The town successfully stood up against a communist takeover by New Hanover's Cobb-Cor regime.

Why so long

Why did this take so long? All forms of government are out of control, only rights needing protection are the citizens of such institutions they serve. This should have taken no more than a month. I hope all who served file a class action suite against the city for wrongful termination under Jayne, and personal suites against this 5 idiots and criminals.

The Truth Will Set You Free

So have the mrs.'s figured out what conduct unbecoming means yet?

Good riddance

I'm sure the officers at LPD are breathing a sigh of relief. They were afraid the Three Stooges were going to be reinstated and morale would spiral down again. LPD officers are actually showing pride in their department. I never thought I would see that from Leland.

Wrongfully Terminated

Mr. Hollis,

Since you openly admit the decision makers of the Town of Leland's Police Department were not truthful, violated rules of conduct, supervision violations, not only admit it, but have removed your ENTIRE command staff.

Why have you not offered the employees who were terminated at the hands of the proven corrupt, their jobs back?

Sherry Lewis deserved none of this and faithfully served the Town of Leland, even in the most adverse working conditions. Where's her paycheck? It doesn't exist. Nor does it exist for Kevin Foss, Chuck Bost, and countless others.

Thank you for proving all of us right!

Blasingame shouldn't receive unemployment benefits

If fired for wrongdoing, it is absolutely NOT right for him to be getting paid unemployment with taxpayers' money. He should lose his home and cars and family like everyone else without a job, except they did nothing wrong!

Here Here I hope a strong

Here Here
I hope a strong effort is made to look into past cases, and reinstate some good, honest, officers (Bost, Foss, Lewis and others) who were 'whacked' by this nightmare click. Now is a great time. Since there are a few obvious openings.

Hollis, and the new chief have done a good job. None of this was their fault. But it would be nice if he could help out a few good cops, who were shafted.

Good

Dellapia was lacking truthfulness? What a shock. And with the posting of the letters, now everybody knows where these 3 live.

Oooohhh h noooo might spawn

Oooohhh h noooo might spawn a hate-group attack. According to mrs delapea. Who cares? Get over yourselves FIRED former officers and their wives.

Wrong

Sorry, I'm not one of the fired officers or one of their wives. I believe they should have been fired a long time ago. However, I didn't think their home address's should have been posted and obviously WWAY agreed since they are now blacked out.

The there is a large amount of people that have been done wrong by these 3 clowns and might like a little revenge.

That was rather careless of

That was rather careless of WWAY to do that. I am glad that they corrected it. Police officers take care not to disclose personal information. I know that some don't wear their wedding rings to work, and most, if not all, have unlisted numbers. The last thing a police officer needs is for the public to know where they live. Even the dirty cops should be shielded from this information being given to the public.

What say you...

kblue?

Kblues corner

From what I can see Leland has nothing to worry about now. Let's let it rest. Sherry was avenged. Say's who!? Say's Kblue!!!

Does that mean theres not

Does that mean theres not going to be a cook out?

Nooooooo!!!

I promised a cook out and by golly were having it!! Say's who!? Say's Kblue!!!