NORWAY, SC (WIS) - The Norway Town Council has voted to end the suspension of a police officer who is being criminally investigated after talking to WIS about the mayor fixing speeding tickets for friends.
The council held the emergency session just hours after Police Chief Sean Hamilton suspended Officer Chris Moore and accused him of lying on his time sheets and misusing his patrol car. "I pretty much got suspended for telling the truth," countered Moore.
Hamilton said Friday night that the council voted to end Moore's suspension on Monday, at which time Moore will report to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy to begin work on his full certification. "He's been scheduled to go several times to the academy," said Hamilton. "Either something's come up and he wasn't able to go or he's failed out, but this is his last chance before he becomes a non-officer."
The two-day saga began on Thursday, when Moore told WIS News 10 that Norway Mayor Cindy Williams had a judge drop two speeding tickets Moore had written to friends of the mayor. After Moore's interview aired Thursday night, Chief Hamilton suspended Moore for doing the interview without his permission. "He's not supposed to talk to the media without coming to me first," said Hamilton.
Then the chief let us in on a secret. "Since last Friday, we started an investigation on Mr. Moore's abuse, lying on time sheets, which is essentially stealing from the town of Norway," said Hamilton.
The chief says Moore was abusing the town's patrol car policy by driving it outside of town limits, and driving the car while he was off-duty. The chief says he's got the evidence in a GPS tracking unit which Officer Moore says he found under his car several days ago.
After our interview with the chief, two Orangeburg County drug agents, along with the chief and the mayor, went through Moore's patrol car at town hall. The chief says he asked the two officers to witness what was inside the car after Moore turned in the car Thursday night.
We tracked Moore down to ask him about the chief's allegations. "You would think I would have been suspended at the time of the start of the investigation, instead of continuing to work and make revenue for the town," responded Moore.
Moore denied Chief Hamilton's allegations, but got a call from the chief asking him to take a drug test Friday afternoon. Moore drove to the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg to take the drug test.
The officer thinks he's now become a target for blowing the whistle on the mayor. "I do fully think this is repercussions of me standing up and that's fine with me," said Moore. "We'll do what we have to do and get through this and find out the truth."
Hamilton said Moore must be certified by November 20, and that the criminal investigation is ongoing.