Bald Head Island fires five public safety officers for violating policy

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Submitted: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 10:07pm
Updated: Sat, 08/30/2014 - 11:03am

BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — The final weekend of summer will be a short-staffed one for the Public Safety Department at Bald Head Island.

The Village of Bald Head Island fired five members of the joint police and fire department yesterday. Leaders say the five men were fired yesterday for violations of village policy.

An attorney for one of the men fired says the dismissals stem from a series of text messages shared among the five fired men, two other employees and a former Bald Head Island employee.

Now the question is will there be enough public safety staff for the holiday weekend.

According to their termination letters, Ofc. Donald Koons, Lt. Nick Terrell, Lt. Thomas Cannon and Ofc. Herbert Bryant were fired yesterday for violating policies related to harassment and sexual harassment, discourteous treatment of coworkers and inappropriate electronic communications.

Ofc. Jesse Conner was fired for cause for discourteous treatment and inappropriate electronic communications.

“The actions of these officers constituted a violation of our internal policies, and although not criminal in nature, we determined that the acts were sufficiently harmful to warrant termination,” Village Manager Calvin Peck said in a statement. “I applaud Dr. Caroline Mitchell, our Director of Public Safety, for putting the interests of her employees ahead of public opinion. Leadership is defined in moments like this when the right path must take precedent over the easy path.”

The five dismissals represent about a quarter of the public safety department’s staff. Still spokeswoman Karen Ellison says the village has adequate staff to continue all operations and will replace the officers.

Sam Potter, the attorney for Lt. Terrell says the messages were of a private nature and on private cell phones, but wound up in the hands of supervisors. He says according to his client, one of the other employees involved was reprimanded while the other was not.


  • fireman says:

    Everyone is aware that they aren’t just police officers. They do rotations between police, firefighter, and ems. I think its every month or 3 months. But they are much more than just cops. They did 3 jobs at one time. Had to maintain 3 diff job qualifications. They aren’t easy to replace either. Hang in there Nick, the truth will come out!

  • m ridgeway says:

    The question that should be asked: How and why did the climate change in the department that led to this behavior?

  • Robert W. says:

    I would like to congratulate Bald Head Island for getting rid of this bunch of losers. They have continuously proven themselves to be a menace to all people on the Island. I hope they don’t end up in another position where the can continue to wreak havoc like they did on Bald Head Island.

    Donald Koons, Herbert Bryant, Jesse Conner, Lt. Nick Terrell, and Lt. Thomas Cannon always have been and always will be a nuisance to society.

  • mridgewy says:

    I am not sure where you live or what your relationship is to Bald Head d, but you do not know what you are talking about. I wonder if you are troll.

  • marilyn says:

    I would like to repost a comment from two years ago, It is still true today.

    Maybe there should be a suspension and investigation done on the village Manager. There have been things happen over the last several years that do not seem to be ethical or legal. From what I have heard, if things dont go Calvin Peck’s way he will develop a personal vendetta against you until you quit or he can find something to fire you for. Appartently this is what is happening to Chief Munna now. I wonder if this is the managers sneaky way to push Chief Munna out! Who is doing the investigation, The Manager??? Sounds a little fishy to me. Hopefully the citizens of Bald Head Island and city
    Council can wake up and see thru his personal agenda and hold the manager accountable for his wrong doings. Chief Munna seems to be very well liked and respected by the people. That doesn’t seem to be the case for the Manager. It’s amazing how some people can abuse power for their personal gain and get by with it while the ones that work hard and do their jobs correctly get suspended and investigated. This is a true example of corrupt politics and workplace bullying. STAND UP TO YOUR BULLY Bald Head Island!! I am sure there are dozens of qualified town managers out there that would love to take care of you and your island. People like chief munna are extremely rare but Managers are a dime a dozen!!

    ยป reply
    Now substitute these five officers names for Chief Munna.

  • marily says:

    Could your real name be Calvin Peck or Karen Williams Ellison. Nice try troll.

  • Get your facts straight says:

    I applaud you for remembering Officer Jones. Her death was a tragedy.
    But for the record, the Fire Chief did not order the scene to be washed down, the SBII gave that order. When the fire chief forwarded that order to his fire/medics, one of the questioned the order and the fire chief went back to the SBI agent and was again told to wash it down. Witnesses heard that comment.
    You are obviously bitter about something in your life. You should let it go and find inner peace. Do not hate so much on things that no longer involve you. God bless.

  • DONKA151 says:

    Congratulations to a bold person standing up to more of the secretive society of incompetent morons of BHI. Two fired fire chiefs, numerous fire ems workers quitting. A fire chief who ordered volunteers and paid staff to spray down a crime scene with fire trucks. This kept that officers family and everyone else from finding forensic evidence. So he eventually quits ,goes to Oak Island and gets fired there! Next chief steps in and gets asked to leave. Idiotic supports protest, who were snowed by his b.s. too. Staff that quit before that criticized for reporting corruption and labeled bad throughout the community. One day 48 hours, 60 minutes or some other professional investigative TV show will come in there and dig up the truth about all of the corruption. There should be a monument, memorial garden for officer Jones there. That would hurt property owners value and embarrass the volunteer country club ancient ems fire followers. I moved from there years ago and will never go back!

  • PublicAvenger says:

    I have no idea what the real truth is, here. I hope the officers weren’t fired for political reasons. In Wilmington, they have “Civil Service Protection”. It’s not a union. And it’s certainly not a “get out of jail free” card.

    It means, before a officer can be terminated, or demoted, he can appeal, and have the facts weighed out, in a public hearing. By a independent, and impartial board. Which, I believe, is only fair.

    It seems like, every four years, every Brunswick County Police Department, is completely changed. Due to firings, and resignations. I’m sure many were necessary. But how many good cops have had their careers ruined by “local politics” ?

    Civil Service Protection should be given to all Police Officers, and Firemen, in North Carolina. It’s a safeguard, that will hold leaders to more accountability. And it will allow the taxpayers to know, “What Really Happened”. “Politics” are a huge part of Law Enforcement. Many officers are far more afraid of getting fired, then the occupational hazards, of the job.

  • Timekeeper says:

    This would only make it harder to get rid of the bad ones, like teacher “tenure”. I think we’re better off like we are. If things were like you want, look how many bad apples would still be in Leland PD. Everyone, police included should be dealt with fairly.

  • Gramps1950 says:

    Maybe its me. But it seems like too many cops are being fired, here lately.

  • BAMA says:

    Don’t worry..The Leland Police will hire them…

  • George Adams says:

    Actually Bama, Mr. Koons was already employed once in Leland. He was fired a few years back. Maybe Navassa for him.

  • taxpayer says:

    The captain of the ferry which ran aground lost his Coast Guard captain’s license due to his negligence. As far as hiring/firing of employees…you are correct. BHI is a private enterprise and can terminate an employee at will.

  • Walter Bowden says:

    I could be wrong but I believe Bald Head Island Corporation hires and fires employees like any other private company can do in NC. It is a private property and can keep certain information from public record as opposed to most law enforcement agencies in cities and counties. I remeber a botched and very flawed investigation of a female Bald Head Island public safety officer and I heard the captain of the ferry that ran aground hasn’t been seen by people who use the ferry regularly. If I am wrong I apologize and would appreciate any clarification by those who know.

  • marilyn says:

    You are wrong. The Public Safety department is run by the Village of Bald Head Island. This is a public department paid for by tax payers of the island.

  • guest45 says:

    well there is no doubt there is problems in all police departments, and one of the biggest problems is allowing leo’s to moonlight, with their own personal electronic devices, there is no reason a public servant goes to work with their own private phone or computer , but, if there is sufficient reason for any reason to terminate an LEO, then it is sufficient reason to pull their certification and not turn them loose on the rest of the state.

  • guesty says:

    How about departments don’t provide cell phone to patrol officers? And officers have to use their personal phones to contact animal control, DSS, magistrate, other officers at other agencies.

  • guesty says:

    Navassa seems to have cleaned house and is on the upswing.

  • Gramps1950 says:

    It seems like every month a mayor, of police chief, in Brunswick County, gets a “wild hair”. The next thing you know. Half the force is axed. “Failure To Perform Duty”. Holy Cow ! If a cop is out there working. Doing a dozen things a day. He’s bound to make at least one or two, mistakes a month.

    Ever heard of “demotions, written reprimands, or suspension” ? It’s just a matter of time before the same storm clouds will wipe out the other half. Including the guys at the top.

    I agree with PA. Maybe officers should have the right to fight a termination, in a public hearing. A former Leland chief , found out the hard way. You can’t just can a guy. Just because he makes you mad. Or refuses to “kiss up”. In less then two years, his head was in the same basket.

    If these guys were wrong, on big issues. They should be fired. But I wish more facts were provided.

  • USMC says:

    That can be done through base, like it was before cell phones.

  • deputy25 says:

    How about just use the dispatch to make contact when on a scene and you need other services. When I started we didn’t have any cell phones MDTs . We would go by office if we needed to call home. If an emergency spouse would call dispatch to have, us call home. If not we went to work and did our jobs instead of electronic socializing.we socialized by getting out and talking to the public!! No officer needs a phone stuck to their ear like I see. They need other depts services they have dispatch to call or use MDT to keep down on
    radio traffic. TAKE AWAY THE PHONEs and DO your JOB!!”

  • mARILYN says:

    The phones were their own private phones. They often have to use their phones because our radio service in Brunswick County is so bad or to contact the hospital on a transport.

  • guesty says:

    Yea, just tie up the radio and have a dispatcher being a relay. What could go wrong with that? Just because that “is the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t mean it is the best way to do it.

  • guesty says:

    …Captain Obvious. It states that in the story.

  • guesty says:

    …you still had to run from dinosaurs. When on a scene and contact is needed to be made to the on-call probation officer, going to the office isn’t an option. When at a child abuse call, going to the office to call DSS isn’t an option. Maybe you need to realize technology has advanced and just because that is the way we always did it isn’t a viable answer.

  • RealityBites says:

    Most administrators don’t want the hassle of the extra paperwork, which goes on for so many years, the deficient teachers could be long retired and dead and buried before it finally catches up with them.

    Another possible idea would be to just place them on an equal footing with everybody else, just like in the private sector.

  • guest123455 says:

    Yet another person who thinks “tenure” makes it hard to fire a teacher. Anyone in public service should have some kind of “tenure” to protect them from political spite. It doesn’t mean they can’t be fired. It just means they have the right to appeal based on unfair grounds. If there are bad teachers, and there are, look to your administration not doing their job to get them out. It is a process, but most administrators don’t want the hassle of the extra paperwork.

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