City pays $12,000 for inquiry into Wilmington police chief John Cease

Witnesses told city officials police chief John Cease was drunk at a crime scene two years ago, and drunk again last year when one of his own officers was shot. City Manager Sterling Cheatham asked outside investigators to look into the charges. Risk Management Associates was paid $12,000 to perform the inquiry. They have concluded that those two allegations involving Cease are without merit.

Investigators also took a look into a third charge of whether Cease drove his daughter in a city vehicle, taking her to a hostage situation, then outfitring her in a bullet proof vest. Cheatham says in this case, Cease admitted he what he had done was wrong. As punishment, he will have to participate in a counseling session with the city manager.

Chief Cease did not attend the news conference and did not return calls to his office. An aide says he is on vacation. New Hanover County sheriff, Sid Causey was there. His department and the Wilmington Police Department have a contentious relationship. Also in the room, lawyer Michael McGuiness. He represents several Wilmington police officers and says he does not care if Cease was drunk. He says the city should be investigating Cease's performance as a manager.

In the last six months, 17 officers left the Wilmington Police Department. McGuiness says 30 more have problems with upper management. He says if the city does not get serious and address the real problems inside the department, the safety of the city's residents will be in jeopardy.

Reported By: Brandi Davis bdavis@wect.com