BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The former police chief of Boiling Spring Lakes has pleaded guilty to a crime involving his son.
District Attorney Jon David says Emmett Ballree entered the plea today to willfully failing to discharge his duties as a police officer.
Assistant DA Chris Thomas, who handled the case, says as part of his sentence, Ballree must surrender his law enforcement certification. Thomas says Ballree's certification had expired, but this will prevent him from ever reapplying. Ballree also received a 45-day suspended sentence and probation as a first-time offender.
The case stems from a State Bureau of Investigation inquiry into allegations that Ballree allowed his son Michael, a felon, to possess and fire a fully automatic suppressed firearm under his supervision at a law enforcement firing range.
WWAY learned of the SBI probe of Emmett Ballree in June 2012. The investigation came at the request of David and Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis.
The City of Boiling Spring Lakes suspended Ballree from his job in July 2012 as it began a separate investigation into an allegation Ballree abused his power as chief. A couple weeks later, the city fired Ballree after determining he ordered an off-duty officer to drive Michael to work in Southport. He has not worked in law enforcement since, the DA said.
Less than a week later a grand jury indicted Ballree and his son on gun charges. In July 2013 Michael Ballree pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon. He received a suspended sentence and probation.