Former lieutenant's time away from work raised red flag - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Former lieutenant's time away from work raised red flag

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LeBlanc denied going to rehab, according to the sheriff's office. (Source: New Hanover Co. Jail). LeBlanc denied going to rehab, according to the sheriff's office. (Source: New Hanover Co. Jail).

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – More than a week after a former lieutenant with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office was indicted on more than a 100 criminal charges, his former employer is responding to a request for answers.

In court, attorneys for Joseph LeBlanc, the former second-in-command of Vice-Narcotics, said he checked into rehab in California in February.

LeBlanc used 136 hours of personal time from February 1 through February 25, according to agency records. When asked if the extended time-off raised any concerns, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office said LeBlanc was questioned when he returned.

He denied it, according to the sheriff. McMahon added that LeBlanc never failed a drug test prior to June 2013, and even passed random tests in the two years prior.

Change of command

After losing its number two, the Vice-Narcotics unit saw a change of leadership. There are more additions than the new captain in charge, according to the sheriff's office.

Staff members are rotated into the unit more frequently, and evidence technicians are assigned to Vice-Narcotics to work only on the division's investigations.

The changes will improve the checks and balances for evidence gathering, according to the sheriff's office.

LeBlanc was short-changing the evidence room for two years, according to prosecutors.

McMahon released the following statement when asked how much responsibility he takes for the situation:

"I can put policies and procedures into place to help insure that things do not happen and adjust them when things do; however, and unfortunately, I will never be able to regulate an individual's morality or character."

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