Belmont police chief suspended after investigation

Belmont Police Chief Charlie Franklin is serving a five-day suspension with pay after an investigation into alleged mismanagement and personal conduct issues at the city’s police department.

Franklin was suspended last Friday to allow him time to review portions of the investigative report, City Manager Barry Webb said. Webb said he and Franklin will meet again Friday to discuss what’s next.

Former police department employees told WBTV, the Observer’s new partner, about bullying, harassment, name calling, questionable promotions and false time sheets.

City officials requested an investigation by an independent agency after receiving several allegations last fall against the police department, Webb said. The agency, Huntersville-based ISS, is comprised of former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officials, Webb said.

The allegations fall into two categories – mismanagement and personal conduct issues, Webb said.

Webb said all of the complaints were reported to the city’s human resources department. He said he’s looking into what parts of the lengthy report he can release publicly.

The city manager said the report was completed recently and that after he reviewed it, Franklin was suspended.

Capt. Mike Ward, the police department’s second in command, resigned this week, Webb said. He did not give a reason for Ward’s departure.

Franklin, who has been with the Belmont Police Department since 1994, earns $67,996 a year, according to Belmont City Clerk Debra Brown. Ward, who had been with the department since 1998, made $51,030 a year, she said.

Webb told the Observer that two or three complaints came from exit interviews with former employees. A couple of current employees also made allegations against the department, he said.

Franklin told WBTV the investigation “caught him off guard” but that he can’t comment until the matter is resolved. A woman at his home Wednesday declined comment to the Observer.

McFadden: 704-358-6045