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Former Chapel Hill chief to head Spring Lake police

Posted May 18, 2009

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— Town officials on Monday picked former Chapel Hill police chief Gregg Jarvies to stabilize the beleaguered Spring Lake Police Department while they search for a full-time chief.

Jarvies, who retired from the Chapel Hill Police Department in April 2007, was on the job in Spring Lake Monday afternoon, almost two weeks after Chief A.C. Brown resigned amid a state investigation of the department. His contract with the town runs through Sept. 1, but officials said it could be extended.

Gregg Jarvies Ex-Chapel Hill chief looks to stabilize troubled police force

"We wanted to get a high-caliber individual in place as quickly as we could to help stabilize the department and begin the rebuilding," Town Manager Larry Faison said.

Cumberland County deputies assumed control of law enforcement in Spring Lake on May 6, following the arrests of two officers on a variety of charges. Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler ordered Spring Lake officers to stay away from all investigations.

"We certainly have challenges ahead," said Jarvies, who plans to commute from his Hillsborough home three or four days a week.

Indictments allege that Sgt. Darryl Eugene Coulter Sr. participated in an April 2008 home invasion in which three men were held at gunpoint and that he asked subordinate officers to falsify a report about a September raid on a motel room in which $2,900 was seized. Sgt. Alphonzo Devonne Whittington Jr. allegedly stole that money from the police department's evidence room and tried to cover it up, according to an indictment.

Brown resigned the following day, and reports that he and another officer were shredding files in the department prompted a judge to order the State Bureau of Investigation to take control of all Spring Lake Police Department files.

Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis has dismissed all pending misdemeanor cases in Spring Lake, saying that he suspects senior officers of lying and directing other officers to fabricate facts in police reports.

Spring Lake officials had named Sgt. Mack Utley III as acting police chief before turning to Jarvies.

Although Spring Lake's police officers have been taken off the streets, they remain on the job. Many of them have been using up their compensatory time off in the past two weeks, Jarvies said.

"It's been unfortunate that the department has been told to stand down, but in a way, it gives, I think, everyone a chance to sit back and say what the training needs are," he said.

Jarvies spent 32 years with the Chapel Hill Police Department, including seven as chief. He also has been a consultant for the Illinois State Police and a guest lecturer at North Carolina State University.

"I know they're going through a tough time, and I thought I could take some baby steps getting the department back –  bring some structure and hopefully some respect and pride back in the department," he said, noting that he also will help Spring Lake officials search for a permanent police chief.

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  • crustyhalo May 20, 2009

    I dont get this..the complaints of a 32 yr veteran of LE....do you think he survived 32 yrs in the business not knowing what he was doing..give the guy a break and a chance.....SLPD is not NYPD..people get hold of yourself and show some respect to LE.

  • mpheels May 19, 2009

    chfdcpt, that's pretty much what I was wondering. I met Chief Jarvies a few times at neighborhood watch meetings. He always seemed like a stand up guy, and as far I can tell from the near decade I've been living and working in Chapel Hill he did a pretty good job. Did anyone consider the possibility that his duties were "traffic control and rescuing cats" was a credit to how well he did his job in terms of preventing major crime problems?

  • gandalla May 19, 2009

    I know this chief had some problems while he was in Chapel Hill but hopefully he will be able too turn things around in Spring Lake. His first offical act should be to fire the remaining officers in the Spring Lake PD and start fresh while the Cumberland County Sherifs is still patroling Spring Lake.
    As far as the fired officers go I heard they are looking for people to work under Paul Bart Mall Cop.

  • chfdcpt May 18, 2009

    And how many of you knew Jarives while he was Chief on the Hill?

  • 8675309-9 May 18, 2009

    "How about instead of joking about police officers, thank one. He/She may just be the one who saves your life one day."

    Well Said.

  • TK May 18, 2009

    Former Chapel Hill chief to head Spring Lake police. That's the best joke I've heard in a long time. Lord, Sping Lake thought they had problems before. Wonder who's you know what he kissed this time to make Chief. Well at least I got a good laugh today.

  • PraiseToHim May 18, 2009

    "How about instead of joking about police officers, thank one. He/She may just be the one who saves your life one day." -- Southerns+gone

    Well said.

    Praise

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 18, 2009

    "Actually, I don't think, according to what I've read, that SLPD does anything more than security patrols."

    That is 100% correct currently. But that's only until Spring Lake gets their act together and is able to take their town back from the County Sheriff's Office.

  • SouthernLady05 May 18, 2009

    "This Police Chief is going from a town, where his primary duty was traffic control and rescuing cats, to a community where he will deal with some serious stuff." " I don't think, according to what I've read, that SLPD does anything more than security patrols."

    I'm sure some of you would have said the same thing about the officers in Carthage, NC. That was, until, a man went on a rampage and a "Cat Rescuing" "small town" cop stepped up and became a national hero stopping more nursing home patients from being killed. It doesn't matter if they are a big city or small town police officer, they all wear a badge and a sworn to protect and serve, and deserve the same amount of respect. After all, it was one of those small town police officers who risked his life in that nursing home.

    How about instead of joking about police officers, thank one. He/She may just be the one who saves your life one day.

  • RonnieR May 18, 2009

    Actually, I don't think, according to what I've read, that SLPD does anything more than security patrols.

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