by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
ALBEMARLE, N.C. - SBI investigators are probing the Albemarle Police Department over allegations a former drug detective may have taken evidence from crime scenes.
Detective Roger "Junior" Ridenhour resigned from his position in April after SBI launched an investigation into his actions.
Ridenhour's former partner, Officer Jamie Pope, is now suing the city over claims he was wrongfully terminated after he reported Ridenhour to the SBI.
"I knew if I went and told my chief that there was no way, or my supervisor, that they were going to believe what this officer was doing," Pope said in an interview with Eyewitness News.
In his suit, Pope said he was on medical leave from his job as a narcotics officer when he heard rumors Ridenhour was telling other officers Pope would be removed from the drug squad when he returned to work.
When Pope called Ridenhour to confront him, he said Ridenhour denied saying anything about his employment status, although Pope's own supervisor had confirmed he would be removed.
"I was shocked that the Chief of Albemarle Police had made a personnel decision and discussed it with a subordinate without me being aware of it...at that time, I knew he had been untruthful," Pope said.
Pope claims Ridenhour's denial led him to grow suspicious about some of Ridenhour's actions at crime scenes.
In the lawsuit, Pope claimed Ridenhour may have taken several hundreds of dollars in coins from a house on Leonard Avenue where Ridenhour executed a search warrant. Pope said he also believes Ridenhour may have taken a personal computer that was evidence in a criminal case, and cash from a suspect's home.
Pope said he reported his suspicions to a detective at the Stanly County Sheriff's Office, and soon after, SBI agents contacted him to question him about the allegations.
Four days later, Pope claims Chief William Halliburton met with him for an interview, and fired him.
"He said, ‘You will bring your gun and badge to APD today,’" Pope said.
In the lawsuit, Pope alleged the chief violated employment law, and that he was wrongfully terminated for reporting criminal activity.
When Eyewitness News contacted Chief Halliburton, he declined comment because of the lawsuit.
Channel 9 also called Roger Ridenhour for comment. He did not respond.