Some MPD employees have their say…

Interviews are nearing their end in the investigation into Mooresville Police Department’s working environment.

About 70 MPD employees – more than two-thirds the police force – interviewed with US ISS Agency to provide information for the investigation, probe participants say.

The public isn’t expected to be privy to the investigation results once they’re in, however. Citing concerns about that – and the fact that Chief Damon Williams hasn’t been placed on leave during the investigation – several MPD employees reached out to the Scoop in recent weeks, offering insight into what they shared with investigators.

Here’s the result of those interviews, in their own words:

MPD Employee 1

There have been talks of a coup, a walkout, a protest, knocking down doors and demanding answers. It’s embarrassing for us what we see internally going on. It has consumed us for two years.

Our concern is the rumors that go around after nothing is happening (at town board meetings). We have all been down to (ISS). If they don’t have enough evidence by now? We’re fearful nothing is going to happen to the chief, and we will face retaliation. If people are left in place on the command staff, it’s going to come back to bite those of us trying to finish our careers.

There’s no way you can run any organization with that attitude. There is zero respect above the level of captain. (Captains) Call, Cooke and Falzone: they’re the only ones there holding the sinking ship afloat.

Backbone is something the MPD doesn’t have.

It’s so frustrating with all the politics involved.

MPD Employee 2

We’re living with this nightmare every day. The atmosphere here is that none of us matter.

The chief brought his political agenda with him, and he’s been cramming it down our throats ever since. The agenda is hiring minorities, but he’s hiring unqualified people. There are lots of quality minority candidates; one taught me everything I know about policing … one of the finest cops I know was a minority. But this chief’s agenda is we’re-going-to-diversify now. I don’t have a problem with that, but bring us the best candidate. Unqualified hires based only on race diminishes the quality of service you’re going to get.

We’ve lowered our standards. Our field training operations program recently changed to a less strict, more lenient program. We have bad hires. And if they’re a bad hire, they’re not worthy of the job, and that puts us in a bad spot.

Standard training is 12 weeks, and it’s sometimes taking a lot longer for some people. Training to me is you either pass or fail. I’ve said it all along: ‘The climate is ripe. Somebody’s going to get hurt.’ And one of the best cops we’ve got was shot. If they got him, how about those that can hardly get out of their car without help?

Poor decisions come from people who shouldn’t be doing this job. And what does that do to morale? We walk around here on eggshells. In all my years, this is the worst I’ve ever seen it. The ones under the chief are yes men. People’s lives are at stake, and this police chief has zero experience, especially with 90 sworn officers.

MPD Employee 3

This investigation was launched on Feb. 20, and by Feb. 24, investigators had enough to put this chief on leave. It’s not right. There are a lot of things that are not right … and unethical … and allegedly maybe even illegal, and we can’t get any results out of the town manager’s office in particular. It’s unacceptable. They continuously kick this thing down the road.

I’m done. I can’t hold this off anymore. There’s texting and phone calls and meetings in the parking lot. I’m not going to be able to hold them back anymore.

I was skeptical when it was announced (that Damon Williams had been named police chief in 2016) just based on his years of experience in law enforcement. But we absolutely had to give the man a chance. Town leaders decided he was the most qualified candidate. We were all skeptical, but he came in with arms wide open.

From what I understand, the chief hasn’t been put on leave because the town couldn’t find an interim and the command staff is too weak. It’s very frustrating. The members of this command staff can’t make a decision to save their lives. You’ve got to be able to make a decision.

The chief and I don’t see eye-to-eye. I have trust issues with him.

MPD Employee 4

Anyone else who had done what this chief has done would have been placed on leave months ago. Since this investigation started, we’ve watched as people in power have started to nitpick every, single thing that everybody is doing around the police department … except the chief’s favorites. The people in power are so concerned that information is being shared, and the town is more concerned with who’s talking than about protecting the officers. If anybody found out who’s talking, we would be subjected to being fired and it would all be for just telling the truth. That’s all we’re doing.

The town is so concerned about who the next interim chief will be. The police will continue without anybody in that back hallway (where command staff is). Every person on the back hallway is scurrying around trying to make sure their job is okay.

If the town didn’t believe there’s a hostile work environment before, they better believe there’s one now.

MPD Employee 5

The command staff, including the deputy chief and majors, became part of the chief’s ineffective leadership by not challenging the chief’s unethical decisions. There has been a total failure of this command staff in holding the chief accountable.

This administration has lowered the standards of ethics and integrity within the MPD and created a toxic environment that has destroyed the morale of civilian and sworn employees within MPD. This has caused many valuable young officers to leave.

The current administration is based upon incompetent leadership and failure of command staff to hold this chief accountable to the standards of integrity and ethics that are expected at the MPD.

Why hasn’t the town manager fixed this problem?

MPD Employee 6

We have been working under incompetent leaders for the last few years who isolate themselves from the line officers. That incompetence was on full display in the aftermath of Jordan Sheldon’s murder. Yet after months of interviews by ISS, they are still in power.

MPD Employee 7

The atmosphere right now? I would describe it as nervousness. Our whole administrative staff and the lack of support we have from them: people are afraid to do their job and do it right. If I was to go out there and someone was to complain on me using force, I feel our administrative staff would do everything in their power to take it out on me as if I did something wrong. They don’t support the officers.

Look at all the good officers leaving – one is leaving after 10 years. They’re leaving because of the administrative staff and how shitty the environment is. They’re getting out of law enforcement altogether because they don’t want to chance getting involved in this again.

Nobody feels like command staff has their back. They don’t want confrontation. They won’t say, ‘You’re wrong. My officer is right.’

MPD Employee 8

He uses discriminatory promotional processes. He brings in his buddy who is less qualified and less experienced – a buddy that knows nothing about the community. There are positions created for certain officers. They’re just anointed. There are no job announcements. He chooses external candidates over internal veteran cops.

We’re lowering our standards. We’re supposed to have a 12-week training cycle. Now it’s training-’til-they-get-it. We’ve had three officers now that have trained for over six months.

We used to have a reputation of doing the right thing in Mooresville. Poor management and leadership have created a police department that isn’t what it was 10 years ago. There’s tension and division in the department now.

Of more than 100 graduates from Mitchell Community College’s BLET (Basic Law Enforcement Training), we’ve hired one graduate in the three years the chief has been here. The chief works with Central Piedmont Community College instead because he’s in thick with the director there.

The best way to represent your community from a diversity standpoint is to be as close to a mirror-image of the community as possible. It should be broken down right along the same lines. But that’s not what’s been happening here.

There was an officer that was recently at the range who shot through concrete. Two more loaded a 40-caliber pistol with 9 mm bullets. The gun malfunctioned. They’re lucky. It could have blown the gun up. That could have caused major problems. And they’re giving those people special positions. They show their incompetence, and we reward them with special positions.

MPD Employee 9

It seems that the chief plays a puppeteer and stirs the pot between officers. He refuses to follow the protocols set in place and seeks out officers to do his dirty work. The chief doesn’t even say hi to officers unless there is something he wants from them.

Employees are turning on each other because the chief is spreading gossip and creating racial divide. We were one, and he creates segregation. No one would be upset if any person gets a promotion, as long as they deserve it.

It seems the town has forgotten about the employees here at MPD. We are constantly told to wait for the conclusion of the investigation. The chief gets to do whatever he wants, and he is not held accountable to any standards. It is shameful.

It is amazing to have such a funny and charismatic leader – it’s too bad he is only like that for the public to see.

It’s shameful that an organization that prides itself on transparency and honor permits such unethical behaviors that looks poorly upon the town and its leaders. And it’s sad to see the injustice that is occurring to those who uphold justice. After such a tragedy, when everyone needs healing, why is it permissible to tear people apart?

MPD Employee 10

There’s a lack of leadership and experience on the command staff. You have people promoted several levels past their capabilities and people running a division when they’ve never worked in that particular field. Good leaders should have experience in multiple facets of the law enforcement world, and we don’t have that.

There have been more IAs (internal-affair investigations) under the chief and (Capt.) Peralta than there had probably been in years. Simple workplace issues that used to be handled by a supervisor are now turned into IAs. It feels like harassment.

They mess with people who they feel they can try to intimidate. Some people are called in for internal investigations for what seems like low-level, supervisory issues. That’s the point of having supervisors. Creating internal investigations out of very minor issues creates a large level of distrust and disconnect with the command staff.

MPD Employee 11

The atmosphere is very stressful and very divided. Leadership is lacking. Who you are, or are not, determines how you’re treated by certain people. Some people seem to have targets on their backs by certain command staff, and in turn, it seems (the command staff members) are trying to push those employees to the point of wanting to quit. Some days it’s like walking on eggshells because you don’t know if you are the next on their list. People you once thought you could trust are not trustworthy, after all.

MPD Employee 12

The current administration has turned this department from one of the finest in the state into a hostile battleground. Picture Survivor Island. Different groups all battling one another. Thanks to the ineptitude of the command staff, the department is like a plane without pilots, speeding towards a mountainside. This incompetent command staff is destroying the department from within, and town officials with authority to fix it either don’t care enough … or are too scared to fix it.


31 thoughts on “Some MPD employees have their say…

  1. What is the diversity of the MPD employees that are quoted in this article?

    Are any of the Commenters Women, if so, how many?

    Are any of them African Americans, if so, how many?

    Are any of them Hispanic, if so, How many?

    1. Can you please respond to Susan below…. do not be selective with what you respond to….she has highlighted some very disturbing situations, which should be captured in the investigations that is ongoing..

  2. So officers that check out on a security check or turn their AVL off and go home to sleep or be with their significant others and family while on duty and then turn around and also go out on code for lunch are not abusing the system and jeopardizing fellow officers and citizens? How about officers that sit in one spot for hours because they are sleeping in their car? How about a Sargent who can ask female employees what their favorite sexual position is? How about officers that ask what color panties you wear? How about officers off duty driving home intoxicated or getting into bar fights? I do not care what they do on their own time, but on or off duty they are not above the law. How about white employees making racial and/or discriminatory comments directly to black employees while on duty and face no discipline? How about the outright favoritism by a department director with all command staff knowing but doing nothing? How about a Sargent yelling “f***ing yankee” to an employee but then complains he’s not promoted? I shutter to think how he conducts himself in other or more tense situations. How about officers who are out of shape and have civilians chasing a suspect as he cannot keep up? How about supervisors signing up for out of town training because they “need a vacation” and want to party at the Town’s expense while employees do not get the training? They then come back and brag and laugh at how pointless the training was but how drunk they got and how much fun they had. How about supervisors breaking HIPPA several times and disclosing confidential employee information and not being disciplined? Would citizens be comfortable knowing dispatchers are “not expected” to routinely watch their monitors or pay attention to incoming calls for service? In fact, when an in progress call comes in, a dispatcher should “stand up and snap at” their co-worker(s) to alert them as they be busy watching movies, texting, or playing games. Seconds matter in emergency situations but paying attention was portrayed as just having different work ethics. My apologies but I thought that was why they were being paid to be there.

    There is an entrenched good ol boy network at the MPD. They cover for each other, bury misconduct of their buddies while disciplining others for the same conduct. This has been going on for years, has caused officers to leave, and has been a big part of the tension and hostile work environment before Chief Williams was even hired. It has only been brought to light and more apparent as the Chief has tried to put an end to such poor behavior. To further compound matters, in a small town, with individuals who have known each other’s families for decades, one can only imagine how entrenched this network is and how behind the scenes it is kept. It runs deeper than just the MPD.

    Yes, the command staff is woefully incompetent and are part of the problem. Can Chief just go and fire them all? No. Are their competent, qualified internal officers to fill those positions? Not many and many are part of that good ol boy network who do not belong in any position of power. I’d dare say some should not even be allowed to carry a badge.

    What would you do when the Director of HR outright admits they know specific supervisors are “horrible” and are incompetent but the supervisors are allowed to stay? How about when captains admit to seeing the bullying, retaliation, and harassment and do nothing about it until they are suddenly faced with it and then they are all up in arms and file complaints? Apparently they are more worthy of being treated fairly than those lower down the chain. That’s conduct of any sworn or civilian employee? And here’s some food for thought … if you are analyzing policy to figure out how to circumvent it to later justify conduct you realize would most likely be unacceptable, then you should not have a badge. Isn’t that how criminals think? It would be fine if one was working to develop and enhance effective policy, but it’s quite another to do so to avoid known consequences.

    Here we are now left with a police department that was fraught with a horrific rumor mill and good ol boy network, to one that is even further segregated (yes as in civil rights) and focused on racial tension, and more hostile. Will the investigation only address the specific complaints raised by Cpt. Call and the few others, or will it address all of the issues? Investigators ran two teams for months interviewing employees and are undoubtedly aware of the truly hostile and unprofessional work environment. At a time when the department should be pulling together to support one another after the tragic loss of a brother and truly exemplary officer, Officer Jordan Sheldon, the department rapidly imploding. Instead of employees being disturbed by this, they seem to revel in proving others wrong, disparaging one another, ruining individual’s professional and personal lives, continuing to harass, and worse, believing it is a game of win, lose, and power. Change comes from the top down. It should start with Town management and proceed to HR and the MPD.

      1. You’re welcome. Facts and truth need to be known and total picture seen before a truly fair and right decision can be made.

    1. Wow! Susan I can’t believe some of the things that I’m reading …..well yes I can because this started when I was just a young kid living on bell street and would see the way some cops treated civilians. I’m glad that you put it out there though and I hope that you reported these things to someone who actually cares because it seems to me that Chief Damon tried to put an end to some things but the cops that have been there years are stuck in their ways and don’t want to accept positive change.

      1. Rita, thank you. It was not easy to put out there but people need the entire picture. I am sorry you experienced what you did. There is corruption and unethical people in every profession. It seems so much more disturbing when it is from those we expect to protect us and do right.
        To be completely fair, citizens who experience poor treatment need to also speak up. I am not talking about further inflaming an already intolerable situation. I am talking about people, from citizens to the Town management, holding each other accountable. Every single person has rights regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, religion, etc.

    2. Omg, I dont know who this woman is, but MPD or the prosecutors office should hire her. All 12 narratives in the article lacked any specific instances and full of opinions and feelings. The most specific thing was favoritism, which exists in every place of employment. So many words yet saying so little. Susan’s comment is much closer to what one should expect from a professional police officer who makes cases for a living. She laid out facts and specific instances. Sounds like MPD needs a complete overhaul.

      1. Thank you!
        I do feel for the officers of any race, color, creed, or religion that are good, moral, ethical officers trying daily to do their best in a hostile, discriminatory, retaliatory environment. No one wanted to speak up as they’d become a target. That’s unthinkable anywhere but seems somehow even more inappropriate on some levels when we are talking about law enforcement. All of the facts and players need to be known and brought to light so a proper decision and course of action can be taken. I do not care if they are black, white, or purple with pink polkadots. Do what’s right, enforce laws and policies fairly and consistently is most of the battle.

    3. Susan, You are right about the MPD Corruption. There are Police who use excessive force ,destroy evidence,Get Drunk in Bars ,Endanger lives ,and Meet their Quota that Chief Williams Demands.Chief Damon Williams is the Problem,he has failed to train police officers leading to the death of Officer Sheldon.Chief Williams ignores evidence of misconduct and he has now intimidated Good Police Officers.I have evidence of this.Mooresville needs a Experienced Police Chief with integrity and Leadership not a Chief who has failed to Protect Citizens and Police Officers.I Pray the Town Leaders Will take Action to Make Mooresville Strong Again.

  3. Pretty sad to say how good it was before with no divide when all but 3 were white men. Pretty odd to complain that it was easy to get away with stuff and now there is accountability.
    Pretty said y’all playing the race card as white men forced to intergrate with people of color and women.
    Pretty sad that your ethics bring you here, doing this.
    This hurts the city of Mooresville when the community stops trusting police to do the right thing.

  4. IT NEVER FAILS, When people Of Color take on certain positions of employment & political offices’ and set out to make a difference for the betterment of the community we always recieve BACKLASH. I pull the racism card. It is racism if we as black people hold an office for just a short period of time while the community around you PLOT behind your back to defame you & your name!! It feels like we as black people are brought in for show. To play like your town embraces diversity, but all the while they crucify us and tarnish our character so that we will not be able to hold another office of that caliber again!!! Can you say COMPLACENT!! YOU WANT US TO STAY STILL & BE QUIET, WE’RE NOT!!🤐🤔😲

    SHARE, LIKE, TAG!!📲🎥➡️♻️

    1. How about you stop using race as an excuse for sucking. If you are a bad employee it should not matter what color you are. Stop the race crap

  5. To everyone trying to crucify these officers and say that they “Just do not want a person of color in power”. I think its fair to say they have been through enough in the last 2 months with the death of Officer Sheldon. Why would they just make up false accusations now? These are great officers and their reputation precedes them. The town needs to listen. -signed a black woman (not that it should matter)

    1. Jamie, I agree in soo many ways! Unfortunately I’ve heard and seen the racism. One white male dispatcher said to a black officer in front of me, “I had a friend apply but he’s the wrong color.” It’s been reported that a white officer stated she did not have a problem with black officers but they (admin) brought in too many too fast. Yes, there are excellent officers. Yes, some have their own factual data. But to ignore that inconsistency, favoritism, retaliation, racism, and good ol boy network was not an issue prior to Chief Williams is wrong. My intent is not to tarnish the MPD but rather get truth and facts out there, pray it helps others stand up and speak up, and have people, both citizens and law enforcement, be treated right. Everyone in all respects deserves that. Fire those from the top down who have clearly violated policies and have been proven to be corrupt. When a captain can state he knows the truth is being told about a director but no disciplinary action is ever taken, that speaks volumes. It has to start somewhere but needs to be factual and not racial.

  6. In the end, this all comes back to leadership or the lack thereof at and near the top of the PD. Fair objective leadership that does not play favorites, is trustworthy, flexible, reasonable, and will hold employees accountable is a valuable commodity.

  7. Having been married to a Police Officer in my life I am calling BS on a lot of these comments!! Especially SUSANS! If all this crap she CLAIMS was going on it would of been brought to the attention of Internal Affairs-Most officers are good and try to do the right thing. Stop making everything about RACE and stop playing the VICTIM card! I am assuming the Police Officer that was shot was afraid to defend himself because of what was going on with the Chief! Afraid for his career so he took the first bullet! This Chief sound like the same BS that is going on with the Mecklenburg Sherriff! I would like to know who hired him and WHY it was let to go on so long??

    1. Bridgette, there are documented dates, times, proof, etc. These are not “claims” but facts. There are good and bad in every profession and walk of life. You’ve missed the entire point. To blame race alone here is wrong. To blame one man is wrong. To assess all the facets of what is happening and all who are involved is. Consistency is key anywhere from raising a child to discipline, rewards, promotions and so forth. Again, big picture and all involved and all who are corrupt need to be accountable.

    2. Bridgette, further, it’s not about playing victim and I take offense to that. Facts are just that, facts and have nothing to do with race. People complain they want to know what’s really going on and yet when people speak up, you criticize them. Exactly why people do not want to speak up. Amplify that a million times when it is your employer. No said of characterized all of the officers as bad. That’s ridiculous. But the fact of the good ol boy network and that Mooresville was not prepared to make their department reflective of its citizenship, speaks volumes. I’ll stand side by side and advocate for any of them unfairly treated. And remember, just because someone looks great on paper for hiring or promoting, does not always mean they are actually that way behaviorally.

  8. If people are being hired that are not qualified then this is a problem, no matter what color they are. Officers take enough risks every day an now have to worry if the person working next to them is trained correctly. I sincerely doubt all of these officers are lying but truly concerned for their safety. If it is proven the chief is hiring an promoting people not qualified, then the chief needs to go. If white people complain its racism. If black people complain its discrimination. Really getting ridiculous! How about we wait an see where the unbiased investigation leads. Of course if proven an chief is relieved of duties I have no doubt there will be protests because there always is. Safety of all officers an first responders should always come first.

  9. Chief Damon Williams Should Never have been hired.Chief Williams has ignored Serious problems within the Police Dept.including failure to properly train police officers.Officer Sheldon might be alive today had there been adequate training and staff.I believe there are good Police Officers in MPD but the bad one’s are hurting the Dept.Chief Williams has ignored Citizens Complaints and Complaints of Police Officers.This is Not Racist it’s about making Mooresville a Safe place for Citizens and Police Officers.I will fight the Corruption in the Police Department for So Mooresville Can be a Safe Place for All.

  10. I have to step back and say, I do not think Officer Sheldon’s horrific murder was a result of officers being afraid. Officer Sheldon was extremely competent and confident. If dispatchers and officers do their jobs and run the suspect and nothing is produced to alert the officer to, then they did their best. Perhaps if people who knew the suspect alerted law enforcement of his suicidal/homicidal thoughts, things may have been different. To blame the department on Officer Sheldon’s death does not seem factual or fair at this juncture.

    1. I did not blame the death of Officer Sheldon on the Police Department and Officers.I Stated that I believe that Chief Damon Williams has failed to properly train officers and that could have led to the death.I stated that this is not racist.If this was racist Chief Williams would not have been hired.

      1. Brenda, I understand. I was not just commenting back solely to you, but on the blog as a whole. Regardless, I do not believe the investigation into Officer Sheldon’s death produced any evidence that improperly trained officers had any role in his death. That’s all I was saying.

  11. Everyone needs to reread the 12 statements by employees. How many commented on the administrative staff rather than specifically just the Chief?? That should tell you it is not just the Chief people are saying are the issue. Look at what officers are saying. They feel the COMMAND STAFF – not just the Chief – do not have their backs. Why is just the Chief held accountable for that?
    Again, I reiterate, he cannot fire them all. There is an HR department and the Town that have control. And, again, these feelings and issues were present prior to this chief being hired yet he is being accused of creating it. Not the case. Do I think Chief along with the majority of others may have made some mistakes along the way? Yes. No one is perfect. Matters are significantly compounded by the politics being played both outright and behind the scenes.
    Further, people still do not have the entire picture on exactly how this all came about. Yes, the majority of employees were interviewed and spoke up. I am confident numerous complaints about inappropriate treatment across all facets were raised. They all need to be addressed. But, when a white male complains he has not been promoted and it is a matter of racism as a black male was hired in for the promotional position, all the facts need to be known. The white male may have appeared on paper as the best candidate, but perhaps his conduct showed otherwise. Perhaps he is part of the good ol boy network that needs to be disbanded. Perhaps he is discriminatory and/or racist. Maybe the majority of the officers would not be supportive or maybe they would. Perhaps other information was known for the decision to be made. People are not privy to have every single detail of every decision. Things are not always as they appear to be.
    This community has routinely been an OUTSTANDING support for the MPD!! I pray everyone continues their support. I hope people demand FACTS, all of them, before they judge or make a decision. I hope the community demands those who have clearly violated policy are disciplined or terminated accordingly by the facts and not race or gender. All officers, black, white, male, female, all need support and your help just as you need theirs.

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About Author

Hi! I’m Jaime

I was a newspaper reporter in Mooresville, NC for a decade and covered local government issues from 2003 to 2006.


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