Southport leaders continue administrative leave for police department

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) –  Southport police will remain off the streets until further notice.
That decision coming from a board of aldermen meeting this afternoon.

Nearly a week ago, investigators arrested the two top cops in Southport. The city then placed the entire department on non disciplinary administrative leave. We now know that leave will remain indefinite.

“We want to conduct an internal investigation, and the city manager is going to work on that,” said Mayor Jerry Dove.

The city has already budgeted money for the police to do their job and protect citizens. They now have to deal with the paradox to continue to pay officers, who did nothing wrong, but sit idle now, as well as pay two men accused of abandoning their posts.

Mayor Jerry Dove says the indefinite leave is needed as they still have not reached a decision as to who will lead the department. Police Chief Gary Smith and Lt. Michael Simmons remain suspended with pay accused of working for a trucking company while on the clock for the city.

The ten man department in total earns roughly $1,600 dollars a day before taxes according to wage information WWAY received following our Open Records Request to city staff.

We found that more than $430 of that goes to the two men accused of breaking their oaths.

“I know that it has been a hard time and it has been a strain on everyone here at city hall,” said the Mayor.

There could be a continued strain on taxpayers, as city leaders also voted to approve the city manager.

Seeing if an internal affairs audit will need to be conducted in the department. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office will continue law enforcement operations in the city for now.

City leaders like citizens hope to see that change sooner rather than later.

“We’re going to get them back as soon as we can,m” said the Mayor. “That’s the plan from our city manager and staff is all in order. Our whole board is eager to do that. We want to get our police department back in order.”

Southport Police took to Facebook Wednesday night sending a message to neighbors.

The city manager tells us he plans to present to the alderman an updated decision on the Chief and Lieutenant’s suspensions at next week regular council meeting.

Categories: Brunswick, Local