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Two Wrightsville Beach Officers Reprimanded while a third Resigns

Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Daniel House (left) and Town Manager Bob Simpson announcing the disciplinary action taken after an internal investigation of three officers last month.

Two members of the Wrightsville Beach Police Department have been reprimanded while a third resigned Tuesday morning.

WHQR’s Michelle Bliss reports that town officials are remaining mum on the allegations at the center of last month’s internal investigation of the officers. 

At a morning press conference, Town Manager Bob Simpson explained that Sergeant Rob Miller and Corporal Shaun Appler will both receive rank reductions and a 5-percent pay decrease as part of their reprimands for unsatisfactory performance. Both will also be placed on probation for a year.

Simpson did not disclose what behavior led to the disciplinary actions.

“All I can say is unsatisfactory conduct at this point for Officer Appler and Sergeant Miller. And that’s the extent of what I can tell you.”

Michael Altilio, a third officer involved in the internal investigation, has resigned. Simpson also did not address specific allegations against Altilio but offered this distinction:

“In the case of Officers Miller and Appler, it was one specific incident. In the case of Altilio, it occurred over a period of time.”

The officers were placed on paid administrative leave last month during the internal investigation. After receiving complaints from within the department, Police Chief Daniel House recommended that the men be terminated last month.

All three officers appealed through a town process that ultimately left the decision up to Town Manager Bob Simpson.

Wrightsville Beach resident Michelle Roylance, who attended the press conference, says she’s concerned because Simpson’s final word does not follow Chief House’s original recommendation. 

“When you have a new chief who determines that their actions warrant termination, I would think the town manager would be supportive of that. And these officers were allowed to appeal that and have it be overridden. And they’re back on the streets and how can we be certain that our children are safe.”

Roylance says that without a clear sense of what conduct the officers were involved in, residents have been left to speculate.

The three officers have served nearly 40 years in law enforcement combined.

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After growing up in Woodbridge, Virginia, Michelle attended Virginia Tech before moving to Wilmington to complete her Master in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. Her reporting and nonfiction writing have been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, within the pages of Wrightsville Beach Magazine, and in literary journals like River Teeth and Ninth Letter. Before moving to Wilmington, Michelle served as the general manager for WUVT, a community radio station in Blacksburg, Virginia. She lives with her husband Scott and their pups, Katie, Cooper, and Mosey.