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Town of Navassa seeks to remove K-9 from former officer and his family

K-9 Officer Luci
K-9 Officer Luci

The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association (NCPBA) is pleased to announce support for our member, police officer Kevin Smith, in his fight to stop the Town of Navassa from taking and likely putting down, Luci, the officer’s former police K-9 and beloved family pet.
 
Officer Smith was an outstanding police officer with the Town of Navassa for almost four years.  When Officer Smith became the towns only trained K-9 officer, K-9 Luci was donated by the dog’s trainer to the town on the written condition that the town would cover medical costs and fees and stipulate Officer Smith as the only handler and full owner of the dog.  Then on July 12, 2011, Officer Smith arrested Navassa Town Mayor Eulis Willis for driving while impaired during the town’s homecoming parade event.  According to news media reports, the mayor was alleged to have called Officer Smith a “wanna be cop” and made other statements indicating that he would get the officers job.  According to other media reports, this was not the first time that the mayor has been accused of wrongdoing and abuse of political power.
 
Following months of reported attempts by the mayor to make good on this alleged threat, Officer Smith resigned from the Navassa Police Department in July 2012, to take a job with another police agency.
 
In keeping with the town’s written agreement, Officer Smith took his K-9 with him and pursuant to state and federal law requested accumulated overtime compensation and accrued vacation time.  In a written response, town leaders refused to pay any overtime compensation and advised that all accrued vacation time would be withheld until Officer Smith returned the K-9, Luci.
 
PBA believes both actions to be in violation of federal and state law.  The letter also falsely asserted that Officer Smith had been fired.
 
On October 3, 2012, town officials obtained a civil summons demanding possession of Luci.
 
This association is representing Officer Smith in his fight to retain his dog Luci.  The Small Claims Court trial is set for Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Brunswick County Magistrate Court.
 
We will also continue to represent Officer Smith in the matters of proper and lawful compensation and false claims by the town concerning Officer Smith’s employment and law enforcement status.
 
According to NCPBA Executive Director John Midgette, “Rather than what should be simple compliance with the law and written agreement, retaliation is apparently being sought by taking a beloved family pet away from a police officer and his family and children.”  Since the Town of Navassa no longer has a K-9 officer or a proper facility to house a K-9, Luci will likely be put down if the town is successful.

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