A double standard seems to be at work in the Mooresville Police Department.
For rank-and-file officers, being under internal investigation means being placed on administrative leave. But for the chief, he gets to stay on-duty, with full access to the police department, while under investigation.
Chief Damon Williams and his command staff have been under investigation for a hostile work environment claim since February. Mooresville’s town board at that time hired US ISS Agency to look into internal complaints and MPD Capt. David Call’s accusation that the department is a hostile work environment.
A tug-of-war is happening at Town Hall about whether the chief should be placed on leave during the investigation, but to date, he hasn’t been.
The chief, himself, is known to use administrative leave during internal investigations as a “precaution.” According to officers, he has said administrative leave should be “the norm” during internal investigations and shouldn’t be seen as a disciplinary action.
Late last year, the chief himself placed three members of the MPD narcotics unit on paid leave. Those employees were immediately escorted out of the police department and banned from the building. The chief stripped their credentials and prohibited them from discussing the investigation with other MPD employees.
They were eventually reinstated to their positions after the town board hired ISS – the same firm conducting the current probe – due to concerns about the integrity of the internal-affairs investigation. The $20,000 investigation resulted in a suggestion for policy review.
But Interim Town Manager Ryan Rase won’t place Williams on administrative leave though he’s been under investigation for three months.
An email tonight to Rase, asking why he hasn’t applied to the chief the same standards the chief has applied to his officers, went unanswered.
So did an email to Williams, asking why, if administrative leave is good enough for his officers under investigation, it isn’t good enough for him.