Entire police force suspended in North Carolina after arrest of chief, lieutenant


Gary Smith and Michael Christian Simmons

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SOUTHPORT, N.C. — An entire police department in North Carolina was put on leave after the arrest of the department’s chief and lieutenant, according to WECT.

The Southport Police Department’s police chief and lieutenant were arrested Thursday for allegedly moonlighting as truck drivers while officially on the clock at the police department.

All police operations in the city were suspended after the arrests, and the whole police force is out on paid administrative leave.

SPD Chief Gary Smith, 46, and Lt. Michael Christian Simmons, 48, face charges of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses, willful failure to discharge duties and obstruction of justice.

Smith and Simmons are accused of driving overnight shifts for a trucking company while on the clock at the Southport Police Department. The name of the trucking company has not been released.

The allegations state that the trucking jobs took to the two high-ranking officers out of the city and county while they were supposed to be on patrol in Southport.

Smith was arrested Thursday morning and issued a $10,000 unsecured bond.

Simmons was arrested during a Thursday afternoon’s news conference regarding the investigation.

“It is indeed that I get before you today with a heart laden with grief for all these events that happened today,” said Southport Mayor Jerry Dove, according to WECT. “It was a shock to me to hear all these, being a former chief and knowing the officers that worked in that department and hired at least half of them.”

The mayor and city’s board of alderman request the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office to lead law enforcement in Southport until further notice.

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