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Police chief: 'New day' for Spring Lake

Posted February 14, 2010

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— Spring Lake officials and residents hope Monday will mark a new era for the town: the return of a corruption-free police department.

Spring Lake Police Department Spring Lake police to return to duty

Spring Lake police officers will patrol the town again, nine months after the department was stripped of law enforcement authority amid a criminal investigation that forced the resignation of Chief A.C. Brown.

"We're moving forward, and there will not be a repeat of the past problems. It's just a new day," the new chief, Troy McDuffie, vowed.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office took over duties in Spring Lake on May 6, 2009, after two officers were arrested on charges including home invasion and falsifying evidence. Brown resigned amid reports that he and another officer were shredding files, and a judge put the State Bureau of Investigation in charge of all police files.

McDuffie, who has been in law enforcement for over two decades, was sworn in as chief in December. He said he is rebuilding the force by hiring new officers and creating a stronger leadership team.

Only nine of the two dozen officers who used to work in Spring Lake are returning, so over half of the force is new.

"Now we have a nice, clean, new department, ready to go and ready to work," local activist Jackie Jackson said.

Jackson founded the group Citizens on the Move after the scandal that rocked the police department. She said the group will continue to press for the force to act ethically.

"We're going to be here as a positive reinforcement for the police department, as well as our leaders of the town," Jackson said.

The newly reconstituted Spring Lake police force will face some limitations initially. During a transition period, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office will continue to handle felony cases.

Mayor Pro-Tem James O'Garra said that regaining some power is a step in the right direction for regaining the public's trust in a department that has weathered quite a storm.

"I pretty much feel good about it," O'Garra said. "The people have really, really expressed that they want their police department back, so that's going to be a wonderful thing."


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  • thepeopleschamp Feb 15, 2010

    "I give them 2 months before they are caught up in another scandal." gandalla

    Aren't you the same person during the search for the Washington police shooter that said the local yokel police would never catch the shooter because they let him slip into Canada? Your law enforcement expertise never ceases to amaze.

  • thepeopleschamp Feb 15, 2010

    gandalla, no, not all the officers were fired, only the ones with evidence of wrong doing. If someone else you work with was fired should you too be fired if you had nothing to do with it?

  • gandalla Feb 15, 2010

    Why werent all the officers fired??? I give them 2 months before they are caught up in another scandal.

  • Glenn Miller Feb 15, 2010

    I feel sorry for anyone that "feels that most people are basically dishonest and only a few honest people left." Good luck Chief and SLPD. Run the agency with pride, integrity and guts and you will show all these nay sayers how wrong they are.

  • DizzyDaphnee Feb 15, 2010

    Congrats to you Chief, best wishes to the citizens of Spring Lake. I commend u for taking action and seeing it through. Corruption of the soul, of one's values, is always a threat. Yes, there are A LOT of dishonest people, but I won't throw up MY hands and give up for them. Dishonesty is a DESTROYER no matter HOW IT IT USED.

  • wildcat Feb 15, 2010

    Congratulations to the new chief.

  • superman Feb 15, 2010

    A new day but it wont be long before the same thing happens again. I have started to feel that most people are basically dishonest and only a few honest people left.

  • WHEEL Feb 15, 2010

    Yeah it's a new day for Spring Lake. They have been paying these 9 officers (administrative leave) for 9 months and they are finally going to do something, unless it involves a felony.