BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Several top-ranking officers in Brunswick County shuffled among a handful of police departments this month. Though it’s not clear exactly why this shakeup is taking place now, there are several relevant events that could be playing a role.
From the complete suspension of the Southport Police Department to the Oak Island Police Department’s investigation into the mayor’s son, it’s been an eventful couple of months.
Oak Island’s vacancies
In October, Oak Island Mayor Cin Brochure’s son Justin Brochure was re-arrested on charges relating to previous child pornography charges he had been charged with in June. His arrest on 31 counts of third-degree child exploitation charges was not widely publicized, but his re-arrest on Oct. 10, was.
Two days later, the police department’s police chief, Greg Jordan, abruptly resigned. Jordan’s second-in-command, Tony Burke, resigned one week later. After weeks of silence from town officials on the resignations and re-arrest of Brochure, the town’s attorney said both resignations were completely unrelated to the investigation and arrest of the mayor’s son.
Oak Island Police Department’s investigation into Brochure’s alleged crimes began in February 2017. The town waited 16 months before issuing warrants for his arrest.
It’s worth noting that Justin Brochure is being charged for crimes committed at his mother’s –– the mayor — current mailing address. She also bailed him out of jail twice, after his bond was twice reduced. Brochure is now being held in the Brunswick County jail after being indicted on previous charges.
To fill Jordan’s vacancy, Oak Island appointed Wilburn Ingram, 71, as interim chief. All but one Town Council member refused to answer questions about whether accusations against Ingram, in which a fellow policewoman alleged he raped and discriminated against her at the Kinston Police Department in a 1998 federal complaint, were considered in his appointment.
Since the abrupt change-up, Jordan took a steep pay cut, slicing his income nearly in half. As Oak Island’s police chief, Jordan made a yearly salary of $80,095. Jordan’s new gig at the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department will pay him a $45,830 salary, according to city manager Jeff Repp. Former Chief Jordan also took quite the demotion; now, he serves as a patrolman.
Burke, Jordan’s former number two at Oak Island, seems to have gotten a slightly better deal out of the recent shuffle. Starting this week, Burke will join Southport Police Department as a lieutenant. His starting salary is $56,000, a $19,925 pay cut from his former position as assistant chief in Oak Island.
Shirley heads to Leland
Three days after Jordan joined on at Boiling Spring Lakes, the town’s police chief left for a bigger town. Former Boiling Spring Lakes Police Chief Brad Shirley’s last day at the helm was Monday.
Shirley started at the Leland Police Department as Deputy Chief of Police, a new position, on Dec. 1. Though he’s now second-in-command, he received a $2,024.04 bump in yearly pay over his Boiling Spring Lakes salary of $74,518.
According to Christa Dees, Leland’s human resources director, Shirley’s position was newly added. Before, all lieutenants would report to Chief Mike James. Now, personnel will report to Shirley, and Shirley will report to Chief James.
New chief in Southport
After a fourth-month-long hiatus, Southport’s police department resumed service early last month. The department’s chief Gary Smith and second-in-command Lt. Michael Simmons were charged with conspiracy to obtain property through false pretenses, willful failure to discharge duties, and obstruction of justice after a joint SBI and FBI investigation culminated in their arrest in July. Both were accused of working second jobs at an interstate trucking company while on duty.
Southport Police Department shut down on the day of their arrest, with Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office taking over patrol duties in the area. Elected Board of Alderman member Todd Coring was appointed to take over as police chief in late October, and the department reopened shortly after.
Besides Coring and Burke, all of Southport’s remaining officers have had their rank “reset” to “police officer,” the lowest rank for the Southport Police Department, according to Southport’s human resources technician. According to records provided by Southport, 3 police corporals and one sergeant had their rank reduced.
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