The City of Lumberton remains without a permanent police chief for almost two years and counting, with yet another interim chief stepping in to temporarily helm the position.
The Lumberton Board of Aldermen approved Rodney Parker last month as interim chief; he will replace outgoing interim chief Philipe Ducksworth, who handed in his resignation shortly after the recent municipal election.
“(Parker) was suspended by the last board for allegations of stealing time on his time card, and the state completely cleared him because there was no such (incident),” Ward 1 Alderman Kent Crider said. “Because of that, he was hired back, and when he came back, we didn’t have a chief, and he had the most experience. So we made him interim chief.”
Crider said the city will stick with Parker for the time being until a decision is made on a permanent chief.
“Rodney is part-time certified, so he has to get his full-time certification, which is one thing that will determine interim or full-time,” Crider said. “But he’s a local guy, and as much as we have tried other people and so forth, I felt like a local guy needed a chance."
The city has not had a permanent chief since late 2019, when former chief Adam Jones handed in his resignation. He was the fourth chief to leave that seat in a two-year period.
In his resignation letter, Jones said that several false allegations had been made against him, but no investigation was conducted and he was never give a reason for the allegations.
“I refuse to be belittled in a professional capacity when my excellent job performance supersedes me,” the letter stated. “I was never written up by my first line supervisor, mayor Quincy Rogers, nor given a written letter of reprimand by him.
“It has been a pleasure working for the City of Lumberton, and I pray that one day this city can prosper and move forward under the right leadership. Thanks for the opportunity and I wish you all well.”
Shortly after the resignation letter was handed in, former Ward 3 Alderman Jonathan Griffith said that he had been largely kept out of the loop on the details of Jones’ resignation, but that Jones was given the choice to resign or be terminated.
The revolving door of Lumberton’s police chief goes back to March 2018, when then-chief Shane Flynt resigned after a video surfaced of him reportedly smoking marijuana. His successor, Carlus Page, was soon after removed as chief and re-classified as a police officer; no reason was ever given for that move.
Larry Allen was then named chief, but resigned shortly after, and Jones was sworn in as chief in May 2019.
Ducksworth was named interim police chief after Jones’ resignation.