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THE RANT: Leland Police Chief Jayne calls media coverage "witch hunt"

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LELAND, NC (WWAY'S 'THE RANT') -- Leland Police Chief Tim Jayne did his first interview this week with the 'Local News Review' since allegations surfaced of misconduct within his department. Jayne did the interview against specific orders from Town Manager Bill Farris for city department heads and council members not to talk to the media.

In the interview, Jayne tells LNR co-owner Mike Leggett that the stories reported here and in the Wilmington 'StarNews' are a "witch hunt." "Long after I'm gone and long after I have completed my task here," he said, "what the other news media have done will remain here and I'm sick about that."

"If you look at what the 'StarNews' did, "What's Wrong with LA Law?," that's an insult to the town of Leland, to go back to that old LA moniker," he said. "People should be standing up and defending the fine police department we have here."

Jayne also contends the media coverage is an attack on the Town of Leland and blames former Assistant Town Manager Michelle Cox for trying to destroy him personally. Farris fired Cox back in July after she claimed the office had become a hostile work environment and she stopped coming to work. Cox says she offered to work from home until the issue was settled.

During the investigation into the shooting of former Officer Sherry Lewis, Cox also recommended that Jayne be terminated for misconduct and sent the recommendation in writing to Farris.

Chief Jayne, if these allegations are not truthful, why did you literally run away from our cameras after a recent town council meeting and have your officers try to keep us from asking you any questions? Why do you refuse to sit down with us to answer these allegations?

Because Chief Jayne, I'm having a hard time equating your "fine department" with your lieutenants encouraging the shooting of Officer Lewis in the crotch 12 times. I have a hard time believing you have a "fine department" after you hit one of your officers in the gut last year at a bachelor party. Why does a "fine department" continue to employ an officer who shot his revolver in the air on New Year's Day? Or an officer who repeatedly pulls his pistol on other officers? Do other "fine departments" have the high turnover rate that yours does? Do the officers at other "fine departments" live in fear for their lives if one of their fellow officers decide to snap that day? Do other "fine departments" order their officers to take lie detector tests so you can find out what they told an SBI investigator? Is it the mark of a "fine department" for its officers to have sex in a house donated to the town or sex with each other at the station house? Does a "fine department" need to be investigated by the SBI?

Chief, if this truly is an attack on the Town of Leland, then I would encourage you to stand up for its residents and defend these allegations. So far, not ONE person has come forward to say that ANY of our reporting is false or incorrect. Why is that Chief Jayne? Could it be that everything we've reported so far is accurate and you're just trying to deflect the blame and say it's the media's fault, or that we're out to get "the town?" No Chief, we're out to expose and report on what's happening in YOUR department. If any of it is not true, you have an open invitation to sit down with us anytime, anywhere, with any reporter or anchor of your choosing, to be the leader your profess to be and defend your and your department's actions. Feel free to call anytime.

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