Hewett's son assigned sheriff's office equipment

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

Today he is a police officer at the Holden Beach Police Department, but sheriff’s deputies claim Justin Hewett has been receiving sheriff’s office equipment for years.

The 21-year-old son of Ronald Hewett has received equipment and gear from the sheriff’s office including a vehicle, clothing, ammunition and a badge, deputies claim.

While Justin Hewett was earning his Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) certificate at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, several deputies say he was driving a county Chevrolet Silverado, and gassing it up at the county’s refueling station, to the tune of $1,622.

Capt. Keith Smith states in the petition to remove Ronald Hewett from office, he purchased “under duress” a Brunswick County deputy sheriff badge for Justin Hewett, and Ronald Hewett’s former assistant, Cynthia Stanley, claims she was instructed to use sheriff’s office funds for Justin Hewett’s badge. At the time, Justin Hewett was not yet 21 years old—the legal age to be a deputy sheriff in North Carolina.

Also in the petition, Lt. Sammy Turner claims Ronald Hewett instructed him to qualify Justin Hewett with his personal handgun, a Glock model 21 .45 caliber, using sheriff’s office ammunition, when Justin Hewett was not 21 years old.

According to the sworn affidavit of Capt. Gene Caison, in 2005, Ronald Hewett sent Justin Hewett, who was 19 years old at the time, to “Atlantic Beach to get certified as a diver. Justin was put up in the Ramada Inn or the Sheraton at the county’s expense. The county also paid for Justin’s diver training.”

Also in Caison’s affidavit, he states, “On 10-20-2005 Capt. Kevin Holden said that yesterday, that Sgt. Sammy Turner had to go to the firing range to qualify the sheriff’s son Justin Hewett in firearms. Holden said he thought this to be hilarious because since Justin is not 21 years of age and he had not even been to Basic Law Enforcement Training. Justin has also been given a sheriff’s department truck to drive (a blue Z-71 Chevrolet truck). I have personally observed Justin driving his truck to Brunswick Community College. Justin Hewett was also given a departmental badge.”

Then in 2006, Caison says he was called in reference to Justin Hewett’s time sheet.

“Cindy Hilz said Sheriff Hewett brought the time sheet into her office and told her to pay Justin for the time he had submitted. I looked at the timesheet and Justin had submitted 12 hours for responding to a dive call for a vehicle being in the water, and 12 hours for being on standby for Hurricane Ernesto,” Caison states.

Caison said then-dive team Capt. Keith Smith said Justin Hewett responded to the dive, but “was not there but a couple hours.”

In February 2007, Caison claims “Justin Hewett and a Shallotte Police Officer named Brandon Todd were stopped for racing 85 MPH on U.S. 17 and trooper Duval was pressured into making the citation disappear.”