E. Spencer police chief who was fired has past charges

by: Eric Philips Updated:

Loading

EAST SPENCER, N.C. - The former East Spencer police chief, Darren Westermoreland, was fired from the town in July and Channel 9 learned he has a criminal history.

His criminal past that included larceny and trespassing charges in the mid-1980s did not contribute to his termination.

"How could somebody with a criminal record become police chief?" asked Tammy Corpening, alderman for East Spencer.

"Unfortunately the Board of Alderman, I can honestly say, did not know," Corpening said.

The board voted Wesmoreland out in July because it wanted to go in another direction.

Macon Sammons, town administrator, said he didn't know of Westmoreland's past when he became chief in February 2012.

"Mr. Westmoreland was hired, when I came to town he was interim chief. He was serving us well," Sammons said.

Sammons said he essentially promoted Westmoreland to chief and while he didn't know about his criminal history at that time, he did learn about it later.

Sammons said Westmoreland's charges were a long time ago and he paid his debt to society.

Board members said they learned of the charges after their vote, the same day they dismissed Westmoreland.

Now, the department has an interim chief who is expected to serve at least until the end of the year.

Corpening said she hopes the board has more input on the hiring of the new chief.

Channel 9 filed a Freedom of Information Act requesting the town of East Spencer to release records and emails regarding the former chief and why he was fired.