SBI investigating Hillsborough detective

Court dismisses officer's cases, and he is put on paid leave for six weeks

Staff WriterMarch 30, 2007 

— A Hillsborough police detective has been put on leave and has had more than a dozen cases dismissed while he is under the scrutiny of the State Bureau of Investigation.

Detective Doug Meade has been on paid leave for about six weeks, said Hillsborough Police Chief Clarence Birkhead. He would not comment on the reasons for the investigation.

Meade has been with the department since 2000.

He is one of six investigators on the force.

Putting an officer on paid leave while under investigation is standard procedure, Birkhead said.

"We want to do what we can to make sure the officer is available for the investigation," he said.

Noelle Talley, a public information officer with the state Department of Justice, confirmed that the SBI is investigating Meade.

"The Attorney General's Office has accepted the case at the request of the district attorney," she wrote in an e-mail message. "Our office is currently reviewing the case. No charges have been filed."

District Attorney Jim Woodall said he can't discuss the case but thinks 16 of Meade's cases were dismissed in Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday. The most serious was a felony for sale and delivery of cocaine, Woodall said.

Carrboro-based lawyer Russell Hollers III said one of his clients had nine drug charges and a traffic charge dismissed.

Neither Woodall nor Birkhead would not comment on how many of Meade's cases remain active.

"We're still in the process of reviewing all the cases that were assigned to Meade," Birkhead said.

Mayor Tom Stevens said he didn't think he could comment except to say his office defers to the police department when it comes to the investigation and the issue of paid leave.

Town Board member Evelyn Lloyd also said she couldn't talk about the case, which the board discussed during a closed session.

She said Meade once investigated a forged prescription at her pharmacy. "I've always thought he was a good detective," she said.

Staff writer Emily Matchar can be reached at 932-8742 or emily.matchar@newsobserver.com.

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