BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) — After a two-week investigation into alleged abuse of power, Boiling Spring Lakes told its police chief to turn in his badge today.
As WWAY reported FIRST ON 3, Ballree was suspended with pay last month as City Manager Jeff Repp began investigating an allegation Ballree abused his power as chief. Repp said at the time the allegation was separate from an SBI investigation into Ballree launched earlier this year. The SBI says its investigation is in its final stage.
This morning City Manager Jeff Repp met with Emmett Ballree and decided it was best to move in another direction.
“Based on that investigation and the information that I was able to acquire in these interviews with the officers, it was decided to separate our ties with the chief and move in a different direction,” Repp said.
Officially the city fired Ballree for abusing his position of power by ordering an on-duty police officer to pick up his son and drive him to work in Southport. It’s an act that could be considered a misappropriation of city resources.
“From the Chief of Police it was just not the best of judgement to be used, and if this would have been another officer or if it had been an isolated incident, maybe I would have taken another course of action, but this is the Chief of Police,” Repp said.
Ballree would not talk on camera, but by phone he said he accepts the reality of his firing. He was fired over a disagreement over the direction of the police department.
“We have a very good crop of officers in the police department, and I think they sincerely want to do a good job for the citizens of BSL,” Repp said, “and I think they will under a good chief be able to exhibit that professionalism that they want from the department.”
Ballree also told us he does not plan to appeal his firing and is looking into careers outside of law enforcement.
Repp said Lt. Richard Spenser will continue as acting chief during the search process for the new police chief.