It’s anyone’s guess when the investigation into Mooresville Police Department’s working environment will be complete. But it appears to be heating up, as members of the command staff – including the chief and deputy chief – recently met with investigators.
The probe could end up being expensive: it topped $38,000 for about three weeks of investigative work in March.
The Town of Mooresville entered into a contract with U.S. ISS Agency, LLC in Huntersville on March 7 and, according to Chief Financial Officer Deborah Hockett, received its first invoice March 31.
ISS charges $150 per hour, per investigator, according to its contract with the town. Two investigators are reportedly present during interviews.
In addition to hourly rates, the town will reimburse investigators up to $50,000 for “reasonable and customary expenses including travel, lodging, and copies/printing, and transcripts at $22 per transcription hour,” the contract reads.
“The scope of the investigation cannot be determined at this time but will be based upon the number of interviews and other investigative tasks,” it adds.
This probe isn’t the first ISS has conducted into the police department in recent months. Late last year, Chief Damon Williams instigated an internal-affairs investigation into MPD’s narcotics unit. On Oct. 1, he placed three members of the unit on paid administrative leave pending results of the investigation. One of those employees, David Call, is captain of the narcotics unit and was a frontrunner to be chief before the position was offered to Williams in 2016.
Due to concerns about the integrity of the internal-affairs investigation, the town later hired ISS to externally investigate the narcotics-unit matter.
During the investigation, the chief had the town freeze the narcotics unit’s funds that are used for undercover operations. Investigators scrutinized two years of the fund’s usage and apparently found no wrongdoing. Two employees the chief had placed on leave were allowed back to work on Oct. 17 but remained on administrative duty. Call remained on paid leave until all three members of the unit were reinstated to their positions on Dec. 12.
The probe – which resulted in a suggestion for policy review – cost taxpayers $20,000.
In February, the town board called for the current ISS investigation in response to numerous complaints made within MPD, including one from Call that the department is a hostile work environment.