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NCSU Police Officer Fired Before Proven Guilty

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Patrol cars like this one cruise the NCSU campus
RALEIGH — The NC State police officer charged with a sex offense against a studentis off the school's payroll. Pierre Debnam was arrested Monday. He wasfired by the public safety department Tuesday.

Usually, organizations put their employees on administrative leave untiltheir guilt or innocence is proven. NC State took the bold step ofterminating Debnam before he is tried. Officials say their goal is toregain the confidence of the college community.

Debnam was arrested on charges that he improperly touched a female studentduring a traffic stop on campus Sunday. The school is saying little aboutthe incident except for the fact Debnam was let go.

Students and staff depend on campus police officers to keep them safe. Sofar, there have been mixed reactions to the arrest.

Rachell Newell, an NCSU student, doesn't believe Debnam did anythingwrong. She says she's seen him before and doesn't feel unsafe justbecause of what the school says he did.

Cindy Tate begs to differ. Tate worries public safety may be workingagainst students than for them. She just hopes the officers are doingtheir jobs.

In addition to the investigating the incident themselves, the PublicSafety Department wants to calm students' concerns.

Sergeant Larry Ellis says the department maintains a high standard toprovide the best service it can without fear to the community.

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