Local News

Sheriff Orders Audit After 2 Deputies Fired

Posted April 4, 2008

— The Cumberland County sheriff has ordered a review of employees' secondary jobs, saying in a memo that allegations that two deputies worked at other jobs while on duty had "embarrassed" the department.

Sheriff Earl R. Butler ordered the county's internal auditor to look over time sheets and other records concerning off-duty jobs held by deputies.

"The recent review that I requested and the scrutiny of individuals who violated the trust that the Sheriff's Office and public put in them has embarrassed the Sheriff's Office," Butler wrote in the April 2 memo.

Butler said he expects employees "not to cheat in any manner," particularly on their time sheets. He asked anyone who suspects another employee of doing so to speak to him or their supervisor.

"We, of all people, are not above the law. No law enforcement officer can afford for our citizens to view us as cheaters or, worse, lawbreakers," he added.

The sheriff's department will also review its policy on secondary employment to see if any changes are necessary, Butler said. The policy has been updated several times in the past two years, most recently in January.

Capt. Cuyler LaRue Windham Jr. and Lt. Neelis Smith were fired in early March for billing the school system and Crown Center for security jobs they allegedly worked while on the clock for the sheriff's department.

A records review showed that the Cumberland County school system paid Smith more than $75,000 to work security at sports games since 2005. At least a dozen times, he was paid for working several games on the same night.

The Crown Center paid Windham more than $40,000 between 2005 and 2007.

As a deputy operations commander, Windham was in charge of assigning secondary jobs. Smith worked underneath him and was in charge of school-resource officers.

The State Bureau of Investigation has opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

Butler's memo stressed his trust in his deputies and urged them to remember that as law enforcement officers, they are under constant scrutiny.

"We go about our business in the spotlight, and we operate in a goldfish bowl," Butler said. "What any one of us does affects the reputation and standing of us all. We must strive to be better, to maintain the public's trust, to be worthy of public respect, and to honor our law enforcement profession."


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  • countess Apr 7, 2008

    I read in another aticle that Capt Windham was allowed to retire, why would that be??? Shouldn't he be help up to some standard here????or at least pay the money back.

  • seaghost Apr 4, 2008

    If the Sheriff were so creditable he would have investigated this years ago when it was reported to him. It is news worthy when law enforcement officers are accused of stealing, not "cheating" as the Sheriff calls it. Also, the SBI should not be investigating this since one of the suspects father was a high ranking SBI official for years. The feds should be involved and do a complete and fair investigations and let the chips fall where they may.

  • redant Apr 4, 2008

    Well I think it is "news-worthy". It demonstrates the sheriff's credibility. He chose not to cover up but instead to take appropriate action against offending personnel. The actions of a few can tarnish every law enforcement officer's badge if the public believes corruption exists within any law enforcement agency. The sheriff should be praised for his quick action and promise to delve further into the actions of his other deputies. Reporting this to the citizens is essential to establishing trust in the agency by the community. The citizens know law enforcement officers are not perfect and don't expect them to be. They do, however, expect them to be held accountable for their actions.

  • napdog123 Apr 4, 2008

    WRAL, it's obvious to the common viewer that yall hate Law Enforcement Officers and Agencies with a passion.......BUT HONESTLY...DO YOU REALLY DEEM THIS STORY "NEWS-WORTHY"???? TELL ME YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.