New chief ready to rebuild Spring Lake police force
Posted December 14, 2009 6:24 a.m. EST
Updated December 14, 2009 7:39 a.m. EST
Spring Lake, N.C. — Spring Lake's new police chief says that he wants to regain the public's trust in a force that has been rocked in recent months by allegations of illegal activity and the loss of its law enforcement responsibilities.
Tory McDuffie will be sworn as Spring Lake's new chief in at 7 p.m. Monday at a meeting of the town alderman. His department expects to regain some of its powers in the next month.
"My vision for rebuilding the department starts today," McDuffie said when his selection was announced at a press conference Dec. 2. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us."
The Spring Lake department has been under fire since May when two officers were indicted on charges of participating in a home invasion, stealing seized money from the evidence room and falsifying reports about a motel raid.
On May 6, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office took over law enforcement duties in the town. The next day, Spring Lake Chief A.C. Brown resigned amid reports that he and another officer were shredding files. The State Bureau of Investigation took over the department's files, and the district attorney dismissed all pending misdemeanor cases.
"We don't what happened in the past to ever happen again," Town Manager Michael Uskiewicz said. "And let me state that again: What happened in the past, we don't want to happen again."
McDuffie has experience cleaning up police forces. When he took over the head post in Red Springs, the department was under investigation, and officials there credit him with bringing more professionalism to the force.
"Before he got here, we had a major problem with prostitution," Red Springs Town Manager Tony White said. "Now, you could drive up and down the street here in Red Springs, and you will not find a single prostitute."
McDuffie has also served as chief deputy of the Hoke County Sheriff's Office, an officer and detective with the Fayetteville Police Department, and an officer with a Texas security company contracted to perform United Nations peacekeeping duties in Bosnia. He also was a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.
McDuffie said his hardest task in Spring Lake might be getting people to trust his department again.
"For the police department to be most effective, the community has to have complete confidence in the police department, and that's something I plan to bring back to this community," he said.