"He had a different way of looking at the land, the trouble at hand or any circumstance that might just come along .... and he measured his life in cedar posts and miles of barbed wire fence”.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
WCCB Talks With One Of Thomas Allen's Former Students
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - News cameras were rolling as Officer Tom Allen was led from police headquarters in handcuffs Wednesday afternoon. A few hours later, he was booked into the Mecklenburg County Jail. Allen's accused of secretly taking inappropriate photographs of four teen girls in CMPD's Explorer program. It's a summer program for high school students interested in police work. A program Allen has overseen since 2002.
Police Chief Rodney Monroe says, "Allen's behavior is totally unacceptable. He violated the public's trust and needs to be, and will be, held accountable."
Monroe says the investigation into Allen started back in October after a supervisor got suspicious. Allen was immediately suspended, and remains suspended without pay.
He allegedly took the photos of the girls, ages 14 to 16, in 2011 and 2013. The pictures were taken with a 35 mm camera during physical training exercises: sit ups, push ups, running. The girls didn't know Allen was allegedly focusing on their underwear. Monroe says no one knew. "He committed these offenses in front of other people," says Monroe.
Search warrants--not yet made public--were served at Allen's home. His computers and thousands of pictures have been reviewed. Monroe says there's no evidence of child porn. "It never occurred to me that he would do any of that stuff that I heard on the news," says Explorer program graduate Christian Coe.
Coe says he's now studying criminal law in part because of Allen's mentorship. He calls Allen a great, genuine guy. Coe went on several week-long trips with Allen. He believes so much in the officer, he says he'll wait until Allen has his day in court. Coe says, "As of now, I can't really say I'm disappointed, because I don't know if he actually did anything."
Allen has been cited for termination. Because of his tenure, he can appeal the decision. Over the course of his CMPD career, Allen's been in direct contact with about 700 youth. So far, CMPD has interviewed about 180 of them. There have been no other reports of inappropriate contact.