Local News

Brunswick judge rules ex-officer can keep K-9

Posted November 13, 2012

— A Brunswick County magistrate ruled Tuesday that a former Navassa police officer doesn't have to return the trained K-9 he handled to the police department.

Kevin Smith resigned from the Navassa Police Department in July after months of threats by Mayor Eulis Willis, whom Smith charged a year earlier with driving while impaired, according to the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association.

Smith had worked for the department for four years and had been the town's only trained K-9 handler. A trainer donated Luci to Navassa on the conditions that the town would cover all medical costs and fees and name Smith as the dog's owner and only handler.

After Smith resigned, the town refused to pay his accrued overtime and vacation time until he returned Luci to the police department, the PBA said in a statement.

Smith's family viewed Luci as the family pet, so he fought the town in civil court and won undisputed ownership of the dog, PBA Executive Director John Midgette said. There was no word on the fight over Smith's pay.

11 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • CarolinianByChoice Nov 14, 1:01 p.m.

    Y'all should google this town, what an incredible mess - this "incident" is just a small dot in the big picture of its woes. They ought to fire everybody and start all over anew. I hope the Officer sues the town: threats from the Mayor made performance of his job untenable due to hostile work environment, plus it would seem that withholding of his final paycheck until he returned the dog (which was his) is tantamount to extortion.

  • topfan4unc Nov 14, 12:37 p.m.

    Small town governments are as corrupt as all get out! The mayor got caught DWI and he and others conspired to get that officer removed and they finally did.

    The condition of having the dog was set when the dog was donated and glad the judge did the right thing. It was to the benefit of that dog who had served well. It's a shame the officer lost his job but he is most likely more happy where he is now.

    I know people like this on boards in other towns. If the officers don't enforce the law for just the ones the board wants, the officers lives are made a living _ _ _ _. But, karma will one day hopefully catch up to those who do things like this and think they are above the law because they were elected to a position.

    They want the law enforced against those they don't like (the town boards, managers, mayors, etc.), but yet don't want it to apply to them or to their families!

  • Just Plain Common Sense Nov 14, 8:27 a.m.

    Guess he couldn't be bought off, so they went after him....

  • Just Plain Common Sense Nov 14, 8:25 a.m.

    The mayor should be impeached. A new election should be called, and the officer restored to full duty, back pay, compensation fornemotionalmabuse and harassment. SHAME on the mayor. POLITICS does not equal (or should not) tyranny.

  • twatkinsntp Nov 14, 8:06 a.m.

    The State of NC should look into the threats this mayor made on a Police Officer. And the people of that town should think about removing him from office. The sad part about that is that I have found so many Eastern NC Counties to be very corrupt as well as many of the small towns that are in them. Willing to be the Mayor and Police Cheif are either good friends or related.

  • mike honcho Nov 13, 5:38 p.m.

    He should get the dog and the money, the mayor should be ashamed for his abuse of power. The town should call for the firing of the mayor.

  • Ambygirl Nov 13, 4:26 p.m.

    Hope the officer sues the mayor as well! Guess he thinks he was above the law. Hope this officer wins all his back pay and vacation as well.

  • Glass Half Full Nov 13, 4:22 p.m.

    Sounds as if the former officer simply refused to give away what was already rightfully his. Vindictive employers. No need for all this mess. If the police department (i.e. the Chief) had stood up for his officer in the first place this would not have been necessary. I hope he wins more than just his accrued time. He should be compensated for having been harrassed by the mayor and the PD.

  • Coolbreeze Nov 13, 3:59 p.m.

    Sounds like the mayor was ticked off for the dwi charge...Glad the officer had the PBA on his side.

  • Caring Nov 13, 3:30 p.m.

    So glad this turned out for the handler to keep the K-9!!!

More...