GREENVIILLE, NC – A petty theft will likely end the career of a young officer. As a matter of fact, the Greenville police officer was arrested Tuesday afternoon after $60 was stolen from a car he searched.
Officer Alec Smith, 23, (pictured at his swearing in ceremony) was charged with misdemeanor larceny, reported WNCT.
Greenville police officers were called to the Rodeway Inn on Greenville Boulevard on November 5 to investigate potential drug activity.
As a result of the investigation, officers received consent to search a vehicle as well as a motel room.
Consequently, there was no evidence of drug activity so no arrests were made, police said.
However, things changed. Later that night, the subject of the search called the Greenville Police Department to report $60 was stolen from his vehicle.
Greenville police said a review of body cam footage assisted. Their internal review led them to believe Smith was a suspect.
“For me, it’s all about accountability,” said Greenville police Chief Mark Holtzman. “It doesn’t matter if it was $1, we’re going to do it right and if we don’t do it right we’re going to hold our folks accountable.”
As a result of their preliminary investigation, Smith was immediately placed on administrative leave without pay and all of his police powers were suspended pending the outcome of both an internal and criminal investigation. But it certainly does not look good for the young officer.
Although Smith has not yet been fired, Holtzman said his employment status could change once the investigations are complete.
Furthermore, the chief issued the following statement regarding the arrest:
As soon as the allegation against Officer Smith was brought to our attention the Internal Affairs and Criminal Investigations Bureaus of the Greenville Police Department pursued it. The arrest of Officer Smith sends a clear message that no one is above the law. The Greenville Police Department holds itself highly accountable to the laws that govern each and every one of us. GPD has, and always will be, effective in self-policing. Maintaining the public’s trust is our top priority and we will not tolerate officer misconduct. Officer Smith’s misdeeds are in no way a reflection of the rest of the officers of the Greenville Police Department. My staff is committed to achieving excellence in public safety by providing selfless services and conducting ourselves with honor and integrity as we safeguard our community.
It has proven true time and time again, there are two things that will get a person fired quickly from a career in law enforcement. One is lying, the other is theft. Once an officer is proven to be a liar or thief, he or she is no longer valuable as a police officer. While Smith still has due process rights to exercise, if the allegations against him are proven true, he will serve as another example why conventional wisdom has been touting this truth for decades.
(Photo: Screenshot WNCT news broadcast)