Local News

Problems at Cop's Property Prompts Warning to Workers

Posted February 6, 2007

— The city had a message Tuesday for all city employees who own residential property: keep your places ship-shape—or else.

In recent years, officials have cracking down on landlords. It turns out that there have been problems at properties that police Sgt. Tommy Newman owns in Southeast Raleigh—dozens of police calls at some homes, housing code violations at others.

One neighbor claimed “drug dealers and prostitutes hang out over there all the time” at the homes owned by the 23-year police department veteran.

City officials took the revelation as a wake-up call.

While it isn't against the law to own the property, City Manager Russell Allen will send out reminders to city employees about their responsibility to meet city laws.

“If they do not, there could be consequences that could warrant disciplinary action,” Allen said.

The city has an ordinance that holds landlords accountable for what happens on their property, and the City Council may include criminal violations under that. The City Council on Tuesday night referred the question to its Law and Public Safety Committee, and the panel's chair, Philip Isley, said it likely will come up at a Feb. 27 meeting.

The Raleigh Police Department was in the process of adding rental properties to its policy about what officers can do for off-duty employment, and now Chief Jane Perlov has sent out a letter requiring all police employees to submit information on properties they own.

Jim Sughrue, the department spokesman, said “Police officers are expected to maintain high standards in many regards and are expected to manage all their affairs to high standards, not to say anyone hasn't.”

Allen said the department is conducting a personnel investigation and the Inspections Department is following up on Newman's properties.

“If you own rental property, you simply must manage it in a reasonable fashion,” Mayor Charles Meeker said. “If you don't (do that), its not going to be long before this council and inspectors will make it very, very expensive for you to fail our ordinances.”

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  • The Dude Feb 7, 2007

    Just so I understand this, the city now wants to have a say in what an officer can own in order to generate addtional income. That's in addition to now attempting to seize control of off-duty and restrict an officer's ability to make additional money to replace the low-pay and non-paid overtime that the city gives them. (Yes, officers and trash collectors both get no overtime pay) Code violations are one thing, but owning property to make money is one of the oldest forms of making money. Maybe the city should look at what they're doing to improve their officer's financial situations instead of looking for ways to restrict it.

  • superman Feb 7, 2007

    How you going to control the people that hang out in the neighborhood or around your house-- except by calling the police and now I understand they dont want to be called! Complaining will just get you deeper in trouble. Raleigh needs to get back to trying to figure out where to put the statue of Sir Waler Raleigh and spending 10 million dollars for a mall where people can sit. and remember raleigh spent a couple million dollars for a payroll program that doesnt work for them and their response was "it's no ones fault" what a great explanation. If I were change-- IT WOULD BE SOMEONES FAULT.

  • lovecarolinagutters Feb 7, 2007

    Hey Mebane-- Dont blame the tenants cause it's not their fault?? Just because you dont have alot of money does'nt mean you have to be a drug dealer or prostitute. DUH!!

  • hollywood Feb 7, 2007

    Why is this message for city employees only and not for ALL LANDLORDS. Seems the city is profling against city employees. If the city was serious about this, they would not just be issuing a warning to the city employees who own rental property becasue I can assure you that very few city employees own rental property!

  • Wildman Feb 7, 2007

    Holding the landlord responsible for what goes on at property is interesting. Of course the tenants are responsible also...they're the ones who'll get busted for drugs, etc. The fact that a cop owns the property...hmmm...taken advantage of? mebbe

    On the other hand, it's about time some things were cleaned up on the Raleigh PD. Sure there's danger in the job, but come on, this ain't NY. There's more time spent cruising around looking for someone to mess with than anything else. It wasn't but 3-4 yrs ago when they were worried about retaining cops in Raleigh who wanted to leave for other higher paying departments.

  • ThInK FiRsT Feb 7, 2007

    Why hold the people that live there accountable? It is not their fault they have to live like that. Raleigh should definately go after the landlords, and not in anyway hold the renters responsible. That might offend someone.
    This is a free country which the military helps to keep safe. In addition, the police officers on our streets maintain the order and peace so everyone can wave their rights around. However, the officers are limited to what they can do off duty. Do other employers do this? Can't even enjoy the rights they protect by working another job if they choose without intense scrutiny. And then have someone from the city who probably has a chip on their shoulder from getting a ticket badmouthing a cop over some property he owns. Why aren't all the other properties not in code listed also. Becasue the news loves making something out of nothing.

  • kota2947 Feb 6, 2007

    Why?WHY arent the tenants held to the same standards as landlords.You think that place is BAD?Take a ride to ROCKY MOUNT.You wont complain about your cops so much!!!!!!

  • mugofstout Feb 6, 2007

    Funny how the city wants property kept nice, but still enforces housing laws that make you rent to scum like the dope dealers and hookers just because they are afraid someone will whine about racism