Sheriff candidates open up on charges against former criminal investigations supervisor – Salisbury Post

SALISBURY – The circumstances leading to felony charges for a former supervisor in Rowan’s sheriff’s office were “no secret” and produced an “embarrassing situation” in the department, said Travis Allen, an investigator who present for the sheriff.

Allen first made the comments in a Dec. 12 video posted to his campaign’s YouTube account and repeated the same in a phone call a week later with the Post. Allen, a Republican candidate for sheriff, said he made the video to respond to a letter to the editor published in the Post and to provide campaign updates.

In the video, Allen spoke briefly about the charges against Rodney Mahaley – a sergeant in charge of the Criminal Investigations Division until his retirement just before being charged. Mahaley was a supervisor in Allen’s chain of command. He is charged with possession of a stolen weapon for years before being charged.

“It was no secret in the office,” Allen said. “It was a very delicate situation during the summer and until the fall. … No one in the sheriff’s department liked this situation.

Allen has defended the integrity of the Criminal Investigation Division and said the sheriff, not individual investigators, has the authority to take action against Mahaley.

In a phone call with the Post, Allen said anyone under criminal investigation should be put on administrative leave. Allen also said his comments did not condemn Sheriff Kevin Auten’s actions.

When asked about the case, some Rowan County sheriff candidates expressed a similar opinion – that law enforcement officers facing criminal charges should be put on leave. Mahaley’s personal file shows he was not.

While a statement released Nov. 9 by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office indicates that Mahaley was suspended while the State Bureau of Investigation was handling a stolen gun investigation, his personal file shows no such suspension. He retired on October 29 and was charged the following week.

“What happened with Mahaley was not a suspension as a disciplinary measure and did not result in any loss of pay,” said Kelly Natoli, deputy county manager and director of human resources. “This is the only information I can give that is common knowledge.”

Republican sheriff candidate Greg Hannold heads the Rowan County Detention Center and is a member of the department’s command staff. Hannold declined to comment on the validity of the criminal charges and defended the actions of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Chief David Ramsey and Sheriff Kevin Auten.

“Our reputation within the community requires us to do everything in our power to be transparent and open,” Hannold said. “I think we did it by addressing the issue quickly once we heard about the charges. We allowed someone other than our own officers to investigate so that there was no appearance of an inappropriate or incomplete investigation. The decision was made whether or not to pursue the case by a field office to avoid the appearance of preferential treatment.

Mike Caskey, Rowan County Commissioner, Charlotte Police Officer and Republican sheriff candidate, spoke generally when asked what he thought of the case, saying he was unaware as details reported by the media.

“If you think an employee might have committed a crime, you obviously need to put that person on leave,” Caskey said. “If they end up getting charged, you don’t want them working on other cases during that time. “

Brad Potts, a retired statesman and Republican candidate, questioned whether someone should be allowed to retire if they are under criminal investigation and said: “I still think that you should be put on leave if you go. be charged. “

Potts said he was concerned about how the criminal charges might affect previous investigations pending a court verdict. He also said law enforcement officers should be held to a higher moral standard than the general public and lead by example.

Jack Eller, a businessman and Republican candidate, said Mahaley was innocent until proven guilty in court. Eller said the stolen gun case could have been dealt with earlier, internally and without charges being necessary.

Mahaley legally purchased a .22 caliber rifle valued at $ 375 in January 2017, but it was the subject of a criminal investigation a month later, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office and court documents. A Rowan County Sheriff’s Office investigator working on a case involving the rifle in March 2017 told Mahaley, the investigator’s immediate supervisor, that the gun was stolen. He was never returned and he was promoted in 2019, according to court documents and his personal file.

Last month Mahaley was charged with possession of stolen property as well as two counts of obstructing justice.

Carlton Killian, a Democratic sheriff candidate, said the charges against Mahaley were surprising.

“Things do happen, but this circumstance fundamentally surprised me,” Killian said, adding that no one is guilty until it is proven in court.

Killian didn’t offer a specific prescription on how he would handle the case as a sheriff.

Simon Brown, another Democratic sheriff candidate, declined to comment until he could find out more about the Mahaley case.

Randall Livengood, who previously declared a Republican sheriff candidacy, said he no longer plans to do so.

The submission of candidatures for the 2022 ballot is currently on hold due to court cases involving legislative and congressional constituencies. Several Rowan County sheriff candidates began their campaigns in early 2021 after finding out that Auten was planning not to run again.

Mark M. Gagnon