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Sheriff Orders Audit After 2 Deputies Fired

Cumberland County Sheriff Earl Butler ordered a review of deputies' off-duty jobs. Two deputies were fired amid allegations they were paid for off-duty work while they were still on the clock with the department.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — 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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Christi Lowe, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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