An Avon police officer has been fired for improper contact with sixth-grade students, most of whom he met through the D.A.R.E. classes he taught, police said.
Todd Akerley, a 10-year veteran of the Avon Police Department, was fired Oct. 3 following a May 23 complaint. Police launched an internal investigation, which found that Akerley had been texting at least eight sixth-grade students and exchanging comments on Instagram, a photo-sharing app for smartphones, and other social media platforms, according to the police report.
"It's shocking that he would make such a bad choice after talking with these kids over the course of the semester about making great choices," said Scott Morrison.
The report shows that Akerley met the students through D.A.R.E., a drug and alcohol awareness program, and chatted with them at all hours, including at night and while he was off duty. Akerley allegedly told one student who was planning a sleepover, “Well invite me over if you need cop protection.”
Investigators clarified that Akerley’s contact with the students was not sexual in nature. The report says police began a criminal investigation into Akerley's conduct but suspended it.
Akerley was placed on administrative leave throughout the internal investigation, according to the report.
The Department of Children and Family Services launched an investigation of its own, and police said they are awaiting results.
Avon police said it’s not the first time the department has taken disciplinary action against Akerley: in 2007, he was caught sleeping on the job.
Prior to his time with Avon police, Akerley spent four years with the Hartford Police Department.