CMPD officer appeals decision to fire him

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by CLEVE R. WOOTSON, Jr. & STEVE LYTTLE / The Charlotte Observer

WCNC.com

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 11:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 11:56 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A high-ranking police officer is appealing a decision that he is to be fired after failing to notify the department about a woman who had showed up at his house and told him she was being abused.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police recommended Capt. Chuck Adkins be fired on Oct. 12. But officers can formally appeal a termination to the Charlotte Civil Service Board, a group of civilians that reviews discipline for police and firefighters.

The board, which can overturn or lessen punishments, was scheduled to take up Adkins’ case on Wednesday, but the hearing has been postponed.

Police and an attorney for the civil service board declined to talk about Adkins’ case, citing state personnel laws.

Adkins, who last served as a watch commander overseeing police operations on nights or weekends, told the Observer he doesn’t believe his actions warranted termination.

Last fall, Adkins said, a 19-year-old woman approached him on a Thursday night as he tinkered around in his northeast Charlotte garage with his police cruiser parked outside. Adkins, who works an overnight shift, had taken a sleeping pill as he prepared to go on vacation to the beach and says he was groggy.

He said he invited the distressed woman inside his home and, as she talked, noticed she was bruised. In what Adkins described as a brief conversation, the woman said her boyfriend had beaten her at house nearby and she had fled. She then used the officer’s cell phone to call a friend for a ride, Adkins said.

“Like I would with any domestic violence victim, I told her she deserved to be treated better than this,” Adkins told the Observer.

He said he recommended that the woman report the crime. “I said you’re really injured. You’ve got visible injuries. Then her ride pulled up, she ran down the driveway and she said ‘I promise I’ll call 911 as soon as I get where I’m going.’ ”

Adkins said he did not get the woman’s name, the name of the man she accused of hitting her or the street address where the crime occurred.

The next day, his family took a trip to the beach. A day later, in the Observer, he said he saw a photo of the woman, whom he says had been reported missing.

Adkins said he then called the missing persons unit and told them he had been in contact with the woman. He told investigators she had used his cell phone to call for a ride. The investigator dialed that number and made contact with the woman, who was unharmed.

But a few days later, the department collected Adkins’ police-issued equipment and suspended him. CMPD recommended Adkins be fired on Oct. 12, according to police Spokesman Rob Tufano.

Hearings before the civil service board are usually closed, but Adkins has requested an open hearing, which means anyone in the public can attend, according to Terrie Hagler-Gray, an attorney for the board. The hearing has not yet been rescheduled.

Adkins says he has nothing to hide.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” he said. “I think I could have helped her out a little bit more. I don’t know that it would have made a difference. But…. I don’t think it’s worthy of termination. Everything I did in this case was to try to help her.”

Adkins is a 21-year veteran of the department. He has served as a watch commander, the highest-ranking officer on duty at night and on the weekends. His salary was $92,189, according to the city’s salary database.

Adkins previously worked for the communications division, which oversees the city’s 911 program. He also has headed the internal affairs unit, which investigates officer misconduct.

He’s also been involved in previous incidents that made headlines.

Adkins was a party in a neighborhood dispute a year ago, when a 16-year-old complained that Adkins had put dog feces in the family mailbox. The youth said Adkins blamed him for recent crimes in the neighborhood where the teen and Adkins lived.

There is no record of any action being taken by the department in that case.

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