FIRST ON 3: Deputy fired after allegedly firing Taser at utility worker

Tags: , , , ,

Submitted: Fri, 11/01/2013 - 8:15pm
Updated: Sun, 11/03/2013 - 12:06pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy has been fired after allegedly trying to use his Taser on a utility worker.

The Sheriff’s Office says Reed Roberts was at his home in Pender County yesterday waiting for a technician to restore power to his home. Once the technician arrived and began reconnecting the utilities, the Sheriff’s Office says there was an altercation between Roberts and the technician, and Roberts fired his Taser. There’s been no official word yet on whether the technician was injured.

An internal investigation determined Roberts violated Sheriff’s Office policy.

“I continue to hold my deputies to a higher standard, and I will not tolerate this type of behavior,” Sheriff Ed McMahon said in a statement.

Roberts, a patrol officer, has been with the Sheriff’s Office since January 2012. He can appeal his firing to the Internal Review Board.

The Pender County Sheriff’s Office says it is investigating possible criminal charges in the case.

Duke Energy Progress has not returned our call for comment.


  • electrical guy says:

    Was this a power outage service call or was the power disconnected for lack of payment?

  • amcabbott says:

    You are so right, John Wayne Gacy was a great childrens clown but we never hear about his great work with kids.

  • Nikki Haugen says:

    People love to jump to conclusions when the full story isn’t there. This is a one-sided story, how can anyone judge a person over this? The media loves to report about the bad, but where is the good?? I don’t see anything about how this SAME Deputy participated in “Shop with a Cop” and took a less fortunate little girl Christmas shopping so she had toys on Christmas. Where is the story about that??! This is ridiculous and those who are responding with judgmental and hurtful comments are just as bad as the media reporting this one sided story.

  • Bill Rogers says:

    An observation not being mentioned here:

    People do not appreciate what (water, electric, gas) utility meter readers and/or utility field service personnel go through on a daily basis to deliver utility service to their customers.

    There are challenges with venomous snakes lurking about (moccasins, etc), venomous spiders hiding in all sorts of places (widow, recluse etc), dangerous dogs, angry customers, possibility of electrocution, water-borne disease pathogens, weather extremes, so on and so forth.

    For all they’re exposed to, you will not hear utility workers do a bunch of complaining, either. On the whole, they’re a happy, friendly bunch of individuals who try their dangdest to meet customer service requests.

    People say, “ah, you got the easy job — you just lift a lid and read a meter all day”. To them, I say, “Why don’t you come try this job for a month or two, then get back to me?”

    We don’t sit in cubicles in climate-controlled offices. We work in all kinds of weather, sometimes even lightning. We work outside all day in temperatures ranging from 15 degrees to over 100 degrees.

    It’s just something to think about.

  • Alex DeLarge says:

    When I heard the byline on the news I was expecting to hear the utility worker was off work, loaded and raising hell somewhere, thus creating some scene and in turn the deputy tased the guy. When I heard the story, I was pretty shocked (no pun intended, but enjoyable just the same). This cop has thrown away his career in a matter of minutes arguing with a Duke Power employee. What was going through this guys mind?! Now, he’s unemployed in an area where finding a job that pays anything is a challenge at best. I’m not really a fan of the constabulary so to speak, but one would expect someone in law enforcement to be able to keep their cool in stressful situations. Wow, must of been one helluva an argument.

  • GuestUSMC says:

    There is probably no law concerning blue lights and official business, as you mention. Never checked, nor do I plan to. However, the “higher standard” mentioned by the Sheriff should include setting an example by driving the posted speed limit like everyone else is expected to do when not responding to an emergency. It only makes good sense to me. Many motorists have seen officers, not under any sort of emergency situation, driving in such a manner that would get anyone else a ticket. Why should you respect those who use their position to act above the laws that they enforce? I used to be in law enforcement and I have seen it go from a profession to just a job. Much respect has been lost for officers and it seems they are doing little to regain it.

  • Guest123123 says:

    But there are policy and procedures for each department that usually require either lights and or siren when traveling higher than speed limit

  • richard manning says:

    normally a officer is suspended pending investigation, mess with duke power and bam your fired

  • Guestx23 says:

    Or maybe he was fired so quickly because he used a department issued non-lethal weapon off duty to assault someone. Most officers that are charged with DWI are fired or “resign” quickly too. Not to mention he worked for a Sheriff’s Office…Sheriff can fire you just because he feels like it

  • Zapped says:

    I’m betting that the deputy didn’t pay his bill, so power was shut off. He calls Duke, and gets told that they will turn his power back on, but he has to pay up. Tech gets there, and says “gotta pay”. He says OK, and tech proceeds to pull meter to remove boots (little insulated covers used to shut power of). At some point, it becomes clear that deputy isn’t going to pay tech. Tech probably says, “sorry, can’t turn power on”. Then starts putting meter back in with boots on it. Threats happen, tech says can’t do it and tech gets tased.

    The people that the electric companies sent out for disconnects / reconnects, or any anything else for that matter have no dog in the fight. If they say collect $x.xx in the dispatch, power goes on if paid. If not paid, no reconnect. It really doesn’t matter to them. It goes in the ticket as paid and reconnected, or non pay, no reconnect. Ticket closed. Job done. They just move on, and go back if told to. Unlike the deputy, their job in no way involves negotiating, or getting the public to do anything beyond “can you move your car so I can get to the pole or transformer”, or “check your lights and see if they are on now”. The whole idea is to prevent hotheads from pulling crap like this, because this has happened before. I just haven’t heard of a LEO doing it.

    I know that all PE / Duke employees are well trained to be as polite and empathetic to all customers under all conditions – fail to pay, power out, storms, etc. It is part of the safety training. There is absolutely no way that whoever they sent out there picked any kind of fight. A report of any kind of complaint about any field employee triggers an investigation 100% of the time.

  • GuestUSMC says:

    It would be helpful to know what the altercation was all about. If the utility worker got out of line, which I doubt, all the officer had to do was call the worker’s supervisor and that would have ended to story. There are so many unprofessional law enforcement officers in all departments these days. Seems like so many of them are on a power trip. Maybe they are so hen-pecked at home, this is what they do to build their self-confidence and morale.

  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    Your Question:
    “What in the world goes on here with local law enforcement.” (Unquote)

    Your Answer:
    Your (city leaders/police) are having to wake up to the results of decades of no infrastructure in the city hall/police leadership…a city left for real estate investors in years past for profiteering…a city that went amuck when the 2008 housing market collapsed…a current gang war that has been brewing for years, and *let be* only to explode into war zones within some areas of Wilmington doomed to spread…and survey results to help further answer your question:

  • LEO28yrs says:

    I have worked here and Florida as a police officer for 28years.
    I have never seen so many Deputies, Officers,and so on in trouble as this area!
    What in the world goes on here with local law enforcement. I worked IA with a dept of 1200 officers
    And in 6years didn’t see this many LEOs in trouble. That’s over a six year span! You guys have smashed that in two years! Better get a handle on the Code of Conduct or just hire better people or get Competent leaders. “From Captain Up!
    With that being said you guys are doing an Awesome Job with dealing with the Gang issue now! And yes, all the shootings over the past month were Good shoots.
    Again not being judge mental, just observing a problem area wide with this other issue.

  • Guest 515151 says:

    “I know that all PE / Duke employees are well trained to be as polite and empathetic to all customers under all conditions”

    Seriously? You sound so naïve. So because they are trained to be polite and empathetic that automatically means that they follow that? You sound as biased as the news stations reporting this story. Everything has to be “bad cop.” Where is the cop’s side of the story?! Instead, you want to make a bunch of crap up like you know exactly how this situation went down? Don’t ever be an investigator, you would be horrible at it!

  • richard manning says:

    I know some cops think they are above the law, but don’t go messing around with duke energy. they got lots of pull. this guy my never get another job. and I hope he is never late with his bill again

  • don wrong says:

    Dude should have know better than using electrical current on Duke people, they have power.

  • Duke energy says:

    Oh ya I’m so scared of the power company. What a joke and dumb comment

  • FCE Member says:

    I could understand if he did this against a Four County Electric employee since they charge about 20% higher rates when you throw in base charges and rates and he should be pissed that he cannot get to have Duke energy. Maybe he was just upset that he is not being gouged and told well you get a capital credit from 25 years ago when Four County electric screwed him then. This all would not have happened if we had a competitive market to choose who we get power from, but hey it is just power, but yet we have a choice (sort of) about our healthcare

  • ExDeputy from the 80's says:

    He did do wrong and should have been fired.

    However, in working there for three different Sheriff’s I find this remark very interesting “He can appeal his firing to the Internal Review Board”. The Internal Review Board will never overturn the Sheriff’s decision… Who is he trying to fool? These guys works at the pleasure of the Sheriff and he can let you go for anything. So, who do you think they will side with.

  • guesty says:

    Did you hear that? That was your career in law enforcement being flushed down the toilet. Way to use your head.

  • DTAYANN says:

    Wish it was true, but he will get hired at a neighboring town/city to violate citizens rights.

  • Conata says:

    Did you know that on PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS, people in law enforcement score essentially the SAME as do CRIMINALS?

    The difference between sensible law-abiding behavior and being a Butt-Hole with a shiney badge… is just a split second decision away.

    After all, how many times have you been behind a cop or deputy that is going 10-15 or more miles an hour OVER the posted speed limit. If they call it “official” then they are REQUIRED to AT LEAST have their blue lights flashing. But, no. THEY were just SPEEDING.

    You or I do that … we are pulled over and ticketed. Makes you wonder if in elementary school they were bullied, and their psyche told themselves, “WHEN I GROW UP, I WILL HAVE A GUN AND A BADGE AND I DARE PEOPLE TO NOT KISS MY BOOTY”

    Waaaaa! Waaaaa! Boo-Hoo!

    So, they become law enforcement officers and flaunt their “authority” of getting away with anything — and dare you to follow their example.

  • Guest, just another says:

    You really sound like the kid who was bullied, now you want to call out all law enforcement? That sounds VERY insecure.

    Obviously, there are bad eggs in every situation. From the president (obviously) all the way down. But to ramble on against all law enforcement is just wrong. I agree with the Sheriff, deputies and officers SHOULD be held to a higher standard.

    Get a grip, and grow up.

  • guest 45 says:

    I believe you summed it up pretty well!

  • guest45456543 says:

    There is no requirement to have blue lights on to exceed the speed limit on “official business”, dummy. Knock yourself out trying to find THAT law.

  • visitor11 says:

    I’m sure some agency in Brunswick Co. would love to have him.

  • Fuller Malarkey says:

    I think you misquote the old adage……

    “A few bad apples spoil the whole barrel” is how it goes. Having a few bad apples is not a travesty. It’s when you let the few spoil the whole is when you have trouble. The power company is probably too big to shush up and intimidate, and this cop got flushed. Now back to the barrel…

    It is the silent collusion of the “good cops” that make possible the ever increasing atrocities of the “bad ones”.

    A cop believing he can bully a power company employee and what, “administer justice”? What happened, he get hos power shut off and he decided to tase the guy tasked with going out to turn it on? Who’s next, the checkout girl at the grocery store because he doesn’t like the price of milk?

  • Try looking it up says:

    § 20-145. When speed limit not applicable.
    The speed limitations set forth in this Article shall not apply to vehicles when operated with due regard for safety under the direction of the police in the chase or apprehension of violators of the law or of persons charged with or suspected of any such violation, nor to fire department or fire patrol vehicles when traveling in response to a fire alarm, nor to public or private ambulances and rescue squad emergency service vehicles when traveling in emergencies, nor to vehicles operated by county fire marshals and civil preparedness coordinators when traveling in the performances of their duties. This exemption shall not, however, protect the driver of any such vehicle from the consequence of a reckless disregard of the safety of others. (1937, c. 407, s. 107; 1947, c. 987; 1971, c. 5; 1977, c. 52, s. 3; 1985, c. 454, s. 5.)

  • guesty says:

    According to chief there are no issues within his department. He likes to play dumb only I’m thinking it isn’t an act.

Leave a Reply