Local News

NCSU Police Officer Fired Before Proven Guilty

Posted August 5, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— The NC State police officer charged with a sex offense against a student is off the school's payroll. Pierre Debnam was arrested Monday. He was fired by the public safety department Tuesday.

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

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

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

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

Cindy Tate begs to differ. Tate worries public safety may be working against students than for them. She just hopes the officers are doing their jobs.

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

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