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By Denise Sherman, Johnny Whitfield
The News & Observer

KNIGHTDALE, N.C - Police Chief Ricky Pope is retiring early in the wake of a domestic altercation in which both he and his wife were charged with assault.
Mayor Russell Killen, in a Monday afternoon news conference, said he and Pope mutually agreed the chief should retire immediately. Pope, a 29-year law enforcement veteran, had planned to retire in February. Killen said Pope has enough vacation and sick time accrued that he will receive full retirement benefits.
Pope, 49, and his estranged wife, Kimberly S. Pope, 38, of 923 Costmary Road, were both charged with assaulting each other just after 1 a.m. Monday by Wake County sheriff's deputies. Ricky Pope placed a 911 call asking for help at his home at 567 Mailman Road.
He faces charges of assault on a female. She is charged with simple assault. Both were released from the Wake County jail Monday afternoon on bond of $1,000 each.
Wake Sheriff's spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens declined Monday afternoon to reveal exactly what happened, saying the investigation would continue.
The Popes are in the midst of divorce proceedings and took out domestic violence orders of protection against each other after an altercation July 6. Those orders were nullified only days later in a Wake County court, and the couple said they had begun to get along better.
"I will tell you I have met with Chief Pope and that he greatly regrets the incident and the embarrassment it has caused his family and the town," Killen said. "We are disappointed that his career with the town ended in this manner, but we are glad that he and the town can now move forward from this incident."
Lt. David Simmons will manage the police department until an interim chief is named.
Town officials had already started gearing up to search for Pope's replacement. Killen said that process will now be accelerated.

Wire Service
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