Chief suspended following investigation into Belmont Police

Chief suspended following investigation into Belmont Police

BELMONT, NC (WBTV) - The police chief of Belmont is serving out a suspension after the results of an investigation into the city's police department.

According to City Manager Barry Webb, Police Chief Charlie Franklin was suspended Friday for five working days.

Webb says the suspension was "intended to allow [Franklin] time to review the portion of the investigation report related to him."

The suspension is slated to end Friday. That's when Webb says he and Franklin will meet again to see "where we need to go from there."

City officials hired an outside company to investigate the police department in 2014 for what the city manager called "conduct and management" issues. At the time, Webb said the issues are "nothing that rose to a level of criminal investigation."

Webb told WBTV Wednesday that no other officials were suspended due to the investigation, but a second in command did resign.

He said the review did not find any laws were broken.

A Lieutenant with the police department was named as acting chief during Franklin's suspension.

Former employees of Belmont Police told WBTV the department has an atmosphere of "fear, mistrust, in some ways - harassment."

A former employee who was with the Police Department for more than a decade, and who didn't want to be identified said "you're talking about the police department for a city. That should be, to me, your most respected people. And you know if you don't have trust in that - it's a bad situation."

Workers said there's bullying, harassment, name calling, questionable promotions, and falsifying time sheets.

The City Manager said they first learned about the allegations of misconduct at the police department in late September.

At the time, Franklin told WBTV the investigation "caught him off guard" but he still can't comment until it's over.

He declined an on-camera interview Wednesday morning, saying "I am on paid suspension at this point and still not allowed to comment since I am still an employee of the City of Belmont."

US ISS, a company from Huntersville, conducted the investigation.

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