07/24/07 — Mount Olive police chief resigns from post

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Mount Olive police chief resigns from post

By Lee Williams
Published in News on July 24, 2007 1:45 PM

The Mount Olive Police Chief has resigned amid allegations that he used taxpayer dollars to gas up several personal vehicles using the town's credit card.

Mount Olive Town Manager Charles Brown said he received a report that former Mount Olive police Chief Emmett Ballree filled up several vehicles with the town's credit card about two weeks ago and launched an investigation into the matter.

Brown said he confronted Ballree about the allegation, and Ballree resigned his post at about 4 p.m. Friday.

Brown indicated that using the town's credit card for personal use is not allowed, according to the town's policy. He added Ballree resigned on his "own volition."

"It was not a forced resignation," the town manager said Tuesday. "He was informed about the situation and he chose to resign."

Brown said he does not intend to pursue prosecution and would not refer the matter to the State Bureau of Investigation for further inquiry. As far as he was concerned, he said, it was a "done deal."

In the meantime, Maj. Ralph Schroeder, has stepped in to lead the department as interim police chief.

Brown said Schroeder has more than 28 years of experience and he called him "an excellent police officer."

Brown added that he was "fortunate" to have someone of Schroeder's caliber to step right in to the post. Any permanent decisions about the position will be delayed for now, he said.

The news of the allegations has stunned many who knew Ballree including Brown. He added that despite the allegation, he didn't want it to negate all of the hard work Ballree has done for the town.

"The chief gave the town 22 years of good service," Brown said. "We don't want to lose sight of that with everything else that is going on."

Ballree had served as chief for the past 13 years. At the time of his resignation, he drew a roughly $47,000 salary.