A corporal assigned to the Goldsboro Police Department's VICE Unit was fired earlier this month after an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation that led to him being deemed ineffective to prosecute state cases.
Dave Cloutier was fired July 11 following an investigation into mishandling of evidence at the Goldsboro Police Department.
This incident makes Cloutier the second officer within two years to be fired from the VICE Unit after being deemed ineffective in his capacity as an officer and the third to be fired after some sort of alleged misconduct.
Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West received a "notice of Giglio" -- an official term for an officer being deemed unfit to serve -- about Cloutier in May.
"That renders him ineffective as a state's witness, which means that he can't perform the duties of a police officer, and for that reason he was terminated," West said.
West declined to get into the specifics of what led to Cloutier being "Giglioed."
"Really don't want to go into that detail right now," West said during an interview Friday.
West declined to confirm if there was anything that pointed to Cloutier taking or mishandling evidence.
The SBI confirmed that it had conducted an investigation, and said no charges had been filed against Cloutier at this time.
The agency did not answer any further questions about the investigation.
Cloutier was with the department for 17 years. He was also a task force officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Raleigh, West said.
West went to District Attorney Matthew Delbridge after the current captain of the VICE Unit -- Capt. G.N. Lynch -- came to him about evidence possibly being mishandled or misplaced.
The SBI began its investigation in September of 2016.
During the investigation, information came to light that led to his being put on administrative duty with pay, according to Cloutier's letter of termination.
The notice of Giglio against him came at the end of the investigation in May.
West declined to say why Cloutier was fired this month instead of May when the notice of Giglio was received.
"Really don't want to discuss that," West said when asked about it.
Gaston Lopez -- then a sergeant -- was "Giglioed" and fired in September of 2015. He, too, worked with the VICE unit, and was with the department for 15 years.
Lopez's firing came after the police department discovered he allegedly associated with "individuals of questionable character and reputation," according to his letter of termination.
The other officer who worked with the VICE Unit during his career -- Capt. Kristian Harris -- was fired for being intoxicated during a state-mandated, in-service training session at Wayne Community College in September of 2016.
Harris had been transferred out of the VICE Unit about a month prior, West said, taking up duty as the captain of B-shift patrol.
According to Harris' termination letter, an odor of alcohol was detected on him when he reported to the training Sept. 20, 2016.
The letter goes on to say he was taken for an alcohol screening, which came back positive.
Harris was then put on administrative leave without pay pending further investigation, the letter of termination says.
West declined to say what Harris' blood alcohol content was at the time of the screening.
"You know what, I really don't want to be going into so much detail," West said.
The letter says Harris violated Article IX, Section 5.9 of the city's employment policy, which defines detrimental personal conduct.
It says he also violated a general order of the police department, which says officers cannot be intoxicated while wearing any part of their uniform or while on duty.
The order also says officers cannot be intoxicated in public at any time -- on or off duty -- according to Harris' termination letter.
Harris was fired Sept. 23, 2016.
West said he is not aware of any other officers being terminated under these circumstances in the same period of time. He also said he was not aware of anything suggesting these officers may have been deemed ineffective prior to the incidents that got them fired.
Any officer struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, or any other problem, can seek help from the city's Employee Assistance Program without fear of repercussion -- so long as the problem improves -- West said.
West said he was not aware of either Cloutier or Harris seeking help before they were fired.
West added the VICE unit now has four members, making it one short with the firing of Cloutier, and nobody is being groomed to take the vacant position as a task force officer with the DEA.
West said three officers who worked with the VICE unit being fired from the department within the past two years does not give him any concerns about the unit.
"I don't think it raises any concerns to me about the VICE unit now, no," West said. "See, I'm not saying the problem was a VICE problem. It just so happens that the issues we were dealing with, these officers were members of the VICE unit. I don't think the VICE unit, per se, was suspect, or the problem."