CINCINNATI -- As a Cincinnati father sat down at his dining room table last month to look through his 17-year-old daughter’s phone – something he does often to keep tabs on her – a text message appeared that would shake up the Cincinnati Police Department.
The text message, meant for his daughter, came from 13-year CPD veteran officer Darrell Beavers, he said.
“He wanted to see all of my daughter. (He wanted to see her) nude,” the teen’s father said. WCPO is not naming him so as not to reveal the identity of his daughter.
The teen participated in the Cincinnati Police Explorer program, a program for teens interested in a career in law enforcement. Founded in 1973, the program is only open to young people age 14 to 21.
Beavers, 44, was a mentor to teens in the program – a mentor to the young girl in question. After a month-long investigation, he was charged Monday with 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.
Officers said Beavers had already received nude photos of the teen, who used to go for ride-alongs with Beavers as he went on patrol. The teen's father said Beavers also sent images of himself to his daughter.
Immediately after receiving the text, the teen’s father marched down to CPD’s District 3 headquarters in Price Hill and showed them his discovery, launching an investigation into Beavers’ activities that would shine a light on even more criminal activity, police said.
“I flipped,” he said. “I…raised all kinds of hell because that should have never gotten through to my daughter's cell phone."
The teen’s father said he has retained an attorney but would not say what his plans are to seek possible damages.
He said he believes Beavers manipulated his daughter into sending the texts.
"She's easily taken advantage of and that's exactly what happened and that's why we feel it's time that we told our side of the story," he said. "Our family has been ripped apart by this. He's concerned about his family. What about our family?"
Beavers Sets Up His Own Substation
During their investigation, detectives say they discovered Beavers opened a fake police substation in East Price Hill – one that was stocked with a bed, bedding, food, personal lubricant, videos and a night vision camera that was property of the Cincinnati Police Department.
The apartment was located at 2600 Bushnell Street in East Price Hill, and he secured it by telling an apartment manager that it would be used as a Cincinnati Police substation, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. 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," Assistant Police Chief Lt. Col. James Whalen told WCPO on Monday.
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 the 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.
The father of the 17-year-old at the center of the investigation against Beavers said he believes the apartment was meant for his daughter.
"I do believe that it would've ended up going further (had I not) caught on...It was something that he was setting her up for and I believe that's what the apartment was going to be used for, and that's what's got me fired up," the teen's father said. "(Beavers) was supposed to be so positive and his image was supposed to be squeaky clean doing positive things, but I guess that was all fake just like his substation."
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 Was A ‘Generally Good Employee’
Beavers began serving for District 3 in August 2008. In his August 2013 performance evaluation, he exceeded all core and patrol performance standards, but only met standards in two categories: evidence management and compliance with policies and procedures.
He 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.
But as the investigation into Beavers led to more disturbing details, opinions changed.
"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' attorney Carl Lewis said Monday that he cannot comment on the case until he reviews the evidence.
"He is a very, very well-received police officer and as far as I am concerned, did well in the community," Lewis said.
Aside for the Cincinnati Police Explorer program, Beavers 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."