Avon officer fired for inappropriate contact with students - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Avon police officer fired for inappropriate contact with students on social media

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The following photo of Todd Akerley was provided Courtesy of Jessie Sawyer/avon.patch.com. The following photo of Todd Akerley was provided Courtesy of Jessie Sawyer/avon.patch.com.
The following photo of Todd Akerley was provided Courtesy of Facebook. The following photo of Todd Akerley was provided Courtesy of Facebook.

An Avon police officer, who taught the D.A.R.E program at the local school, has been fired.

Police said Off. Todd Akerley, 35, sent inappropriate text messages to his students and interacted with children on social media in ways he shouldn't have.

Police have been working on the internal investigation into Akerley for months after they first got a complaint in May.

Akerley wasn't around the students during that time, he was on paid leave.

In police documents, students describe him as "creepy," and said the way he interacted with them through text messages and social media outside of school, was "weird."

Akerley appears to use social media quite a bit and posted photos on his Facebook page. The problem is police say he uses Twitter and Instagram just as much... encouraging his former D.A.R.E students at the Thompson Brook School to follow and interact with him online.

"I'm not comfortable with that kind of person teaching us about D.A.R.E," said sixth grader Reid Kieper "It's sort of scary."

Kieper said he knew who Akerley was through programs at Avon's elementary schools, and says a friend saw some dirty things on one of Akerley's pages.

"I guess he was following these inappropriate people that was showing us their parts or something like that, something disgusting," Kieper said.

Police said Akerley often shared links to adult websites with pornographic images even though he knew many students followed his page. They also found a box full of condoms and sex toys in his police locker.

"The investigation revealed several incidents which reflect your questionable candor, your inability to follow instructions, and your alleged ignorance of department policies," police said in the investigation documents.

In the report, it stated 12 students between 11 to 14 years old were interviewed. Eight of them had online or text message exchanges with Akerley.

In one text with an 11-year-old girl, who was having a sleepover with friends, Akerley said "let me know if you ever need the police 'me' to come over if u need help watching movies, finishing food, ice cream, etc. when u have ur fun nights."

When police asked Akerley about it, he said "there was and never will be a time when I would go over and actually do what I had written via text."

Akerley went on to say he was "kidding around like I typically do in my life and during D.A.R.E classes."

But that girl's parents thought Akerley had crossed a boundary, and called police. Parents at the Thompson Brook School where he taught said they're glad he's gone.

"I feel that the school is on top of checking out who's dealing with these kids, and who shouldn't be," mother Carina Kieper said.

Police told Eyewitness News there was no evidence of sexual contact with students. They said they didn't find anything criminal during the investigation, so at this point no charges have been filed.

Connecticut Department of Children and Families is also investigating.

During his interviews, Akerley said multiple times he would never harm a child. Akerley said he just wanted to be friends with the kids, and let them know police aren't just out there to arrest bad guys.

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