CINCINNATI -- A Cincinnati police officer was indicted Monday on felony charges involving nude photos of a 17-year-old and the opening of a fake police substation in East Price Hill, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters said.
Darrell Beavers, 44, who has been with CPD for about 13 years, was indicted on one count of theft in office, one count of tampering with evidence and four counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.
Deters said these charges date from June 2013 to Sept. 2013.
If convicted on all charges, Beavers -- a former player in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs -- faces the possibility of eight-and-a-half years in prison.
Last week, Beavers was put on the CPD's Telephone Reporting Unit pending a grand jury decision. Following his indictment Monday, he was suspended on unpaid leave. Beavers earned $73,646.67 per year and was hired on August 19, 2001.
Beavers participated in The Cincinnati Police Explorer program, a program for teenagers interested in a career in law enforcement. Founded in 1973, the program is only open to young people age 14 to 21, according to its website.
In September 2013, the parent of a 17-year-old Cincinnati Police Explorer became concerned about his daughter’s contact with Beavers, Deters said. He later complained to the Cincinnati Police Department which resulted in an investigation into Beavers' activities.
It was later determined Beavers received nude photos of the teen, Deters said.
"Until I see the evidence, I can't comment on the case but he is a very, very well-received police officer and as far as I am concerned did well in the community," said Beavers' attorney, Carl Lewis, after the indictment was announced Monday.
Beavers has served in District 3 since August 2008. In his August 2013 performance evaluation, Beavers exceeded all core and patrol performance standards, but only met standards in two categories: evidence management and compliance with policies and procedures.
He has earned 10 commendations for his police work, including one directly from former police chief Col. Tom Streicher Jr. in January 2007 for his work in the vortex unit, according to his personnel file.
"He's been a generally good employee," Assistant Police Chief Lt. Col. James Whalen told WCPO on Monday. "And this is obviously very disappointing."
He was named a neighborhood liaison officer in November 2010, according to his personnel file.
"We have supervisors and all kinds of rules and regulations, and he didn't obey any of them in this regard, our investigation show us," Whalen said. "As a neighborhood officer, we would have expected him to be out in the community and meeting with people and when we discovered he wasn't, we took this action."
Beavers Sets Up His Own Substation
Beavers is also charged with improper use of an apartment at 2600 Bushnell Street in East Price Hill.
An investigation revealed Beavers secured the apartment alleging that it would be used as a Cincinnati Police substation, Deters said.
"An officer on their own is not empowered to do that, we have a policy in place and he just didn't follow the police and submit it up the chain," Whalen said.
In an interview with 9 On Your Side's Jay Warren, apartment manager Marti Burcham said Beavers approached her earlier this year and asked if she would like a substation.
For Burcham, the thought of extra police security was a no-brainer.
"Two weeks later, he came back and said, 'yes, we were approved’ and we had to furnish an apartment and the electricity," Burcham said.
Burcham said she then began moving things into apartment No. 9, including a bed.
She was also told to put a Cincinnati Police Department sticker on the window of the stairwell, she said.
"I saw him move stuff in -- a computer and stuff like that -- and he hung the sign on the window, so I thought it was all perfectly legit," Burcham said.
Kathy, a resident of the apartment who asked that WCPO not use her last name, said she -- like Burcham – agreed with the idea of a substation at the complex.
"When I first heard that there was going to be a substation in our complex, I thought it was a really nice idea,” she said, “It's off the beaten path…security would really really be nice."
But as time went by, Kathy said something didn't seem normal.
"Only because they were never there, it seemed like if there was going to be some police presence in the neighborhood at least they would be there on occasion,” Kathy said. “An hour here and an hour there -- but it really didn't appear that way to me."
When the police searched the apartment in late September, they found a bed, bedding, food, personal lubricant, videos and a night vision camera that was property of the Cincinnati Police Department.
“A police officer commands, and should command, the respect of the entire community. When an individual police officer betrays that trust, it devastates the entire community which is why the Cincinnati Police Department and my office place the highest priority on these types of cases and will not tolerate this behavior,” Deters said.
The theft charge against Beavers is based on his use of the apartment for free and claiming it was for official Cincinnati police business.
Count two of the indictment alleges Beavers destroyed a cell phone after he became aware of the official police investigation into his activities.
Beavers: 'You Shouldn't Be Afraid Of The Police'
Beavers also worked with Camp Joy in Clarksville, Ohio, for several years, where he was paired with dozens of campers – ages 10 to 12.
Officers at the camp are often paired with children for a week, giving them the chance to reach out to inner-city kids in hopes of preventing problems later down the road. The partnership between the camp and the police department has existed since 1969.
"Once they've reached a certain age, it's kind of hard to grasp, to bring them back,” Beavers said about his efforts at the camp in an interview with 9 On Your Side in 2012. “If you can save them now, you can talk to them now, you can probably reach out and be able to change a lot of their behavior," he said.
Beavers told 9 On Your Side that it is important for the children at the camp to understand who the police are when they see them out and about in their neighborhoods back home.
"A lot of these people are victims of their environment,” Beavers said. “We want the children to come out, outside of their environment...come to an environment where there's nature, where they feel safe, they feel comfortable, they feel no threats at all."
Beavers added, "You shouldn't be afraid of the police. We're the ones we want you to come to if you're in need. We want you to come to us."
9 On Your Side reporter Natasha Williams contributed to this report.
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