Why are Mooresville taxpayers still paying two police-chief salaries?
We’re already on the hook for the $225,000 bill to US ISS Agency for its broad investigation into the Mooresville Police Department working environment. Results of that seven-month probe were turned over to the town a month ago.
Chief Damon Williams was placed on paid administrative leave in June, four months into the investigation. Since July, he has been “volunteering” as police chief in Taylortown, two hours east of here, where he was chief from 2005-10.
But is it really “volunteering” if he’s collecting a paycheck? While Taylortown may not be paying him, Mooresville taxpayers are. In fact, including benefits, we are contributing more than $400 a day to provide Taylortown a police chief. Meanwhile, we’re also paying an interim chief to come in and clean up the mess Williams left behind.
-Two of three top-cops in Williams’ inner circle – one of whom Williams, himself, promoted – were recently demoted, reportedly as a result of the ISS probe. Not just any fall from grace, both men took significant pay-cuts and will find themselves back in patrol cars next week.
-Williams hired a sergeant from Rocky Mount, NC, bringing him to Mooresville as a captain rather than promoting from within. That guy didn’t last long. The ISS investigation reportedly turned-up issues in his background check, indicating that either Williams didn’t complete a background check on his hire – or he ignored the results of it.
-The family of slain K9 Officer Jordan Sheldon is weighing in publicly now about issues and concerns that Jordan often raised while serving under Williams and his command staff. Citing a reported lack of reliable backup on calls, inconsistent policy practices and missing/malfunctioning equipment meant to protect officers, Jordan expressed repeated concerns about his safety while on duty, the family says. It’s worth noting that Williams had promoted to sergeant the logistics officer responsible for securing officers’ equipment and repairs.
-MPD’s captain over internal affairs is currently under an internal-affairs investigation, himself, though the reason is unclear. Williams hired that man, a retired SC Trooper, to fill a vacant captain’s position rather than promoting from within.
-The town has reportedly provided at least two other officers – one of whom Williams hired – with termination notices as a result of the ISS investigation. It is unclear if they were given the notorious “Mooresville Option Plan”: resign or be fired.
People with varying opinions and personal preferences can bicker all day long about who we feel is right and wrong, but facts are facts, and they speak for themselves. The interim chief has been well-accepted by the vast majority of the police department, but his contract runs out next month. The town can’t hire him – or anyone else as chief – without making a decision on Williams.
It’s beyond time to make that decision. The police department and this community have been through enough, for long enough. Taxpayers deserve answers – we’ve certainly paid for them – and we shouldn’t have to continue paying for the town’s mistakes and foot-dragging.
Enough is enough.