Monday, December 07, 2009

Officer Darrell Collins Resigns

A Carolina Beach police officer resigned Monday amid a dispute with town councilman Dan Wilcox that started over a woman.

Additionally, former officer Darrell Collins asked a New Hanover County assistant district attorney to dismiss charges he filed on his own time against Wilcox, accusing him of stalking, assault and communicating threats whenever he saw Collins with Wilcox's ex-girlfriend, according to court documents.

Collins, who had been placed on administrative paid leave last week, would not say why he resigned or why he dropped charges against the 56-year-old Wilcox, who is also mayor pro tem. Collins was put on leave after the police chief began looking into whether Collins violated unspecified town or police policies. And Wilcox had said in a statement after Collins charged him on Thanksgiving that the “retaliation is a result of me having reported him for misuse of town resources.”

On Monday, Wilcox said he didn't have a comment because he was trying to verify whether the charges had been dropped.

Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens confirmed Collins' resignation Monday.

“We wish him well on his future endeavors,” Owens said, adding he thought the dismissal of the charges against Wilcox was “the best thing for everyone in this instance. It's the best thing for everyone to move on.”

He said Collins would receive the same benefits as any other employee who resigned from the town, meaning that he would receive whatever benefits were still owed to him.

Police Chief William Younginer declined to say anything about Collins or his performance as an officer.

Collins, a 53-year-old who said he had an unblemished record in law enforcement, said he's been in law enforcement for 32 years – five of them in Carolina Beach – and that he was ready to move on and he wanted the scandal to go away.

“I have no ties here,” he said. “None.”

Collins declined to talk about Wilcox's ex-girlfriend and he made no comments about Wilcox.

“Some things in life you can't win,” he said without offering any details.

Collins, a father of two grown children and grandfather to an 8-year-old grandson, said he was a simple person who did not get involved in politics.

Born and raised in South Carolina, he said he retired from law enforcement there and then moved to Carolina Beach because he'd always wanted to live on the coast. Now, Collins said he plans to leave the state.

He shook his head when asked by a reporter if he planned to take the woman with him.

“No comment,” he said, his hands folded in front of him.

Collins, who described himself as easygoing and non-confrontational, said the incident involving Wilcox was the most shocking thing that's happened to him.

During an hourlong interview, Collins gave a glimpse into the possible forces behind his decision to resign when he said: “The politics here ... It's not going to change no matter what I do or don't do, so I decided to move on.”

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