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Community shows support for Troy officer

by Canda HarbaughWestern News
| November 22, 2009 11:00 PM

Troy residents have rallied around Bob McLeod, showing support for the police officer who was recently placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the city’s insurance company.

Locals have decorated their vehicles and homes with signs and blue ribbons, and over 130 people joined the “Support Bob McLeod” cause on Facebook, a social networking website. They have also planned a support march on Saturday from his home to city hall.

Troy police chief Mitch Walters and an alleged victim came forward recently, accusing McLeod of misconduct relating to the deployment of a Taser two years ago, according to Walters and city officials. 

The fact that Walters and officer Kit Pearson allegedly broadcast an offensive conversation over a public frequency by mistake the same day that McLeod was suspended is coincidental, according to city officials.

“It’s just a coincidence that they both happened at the same time,” councilmember Laura Schrader said. “They are completely separate issues.”

The state Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the incident involving Walters and Pearson, but is not looking into McLeod’s alleged misconduct because it is a civil – not criminal – complaint, according to mayor Jim Hammons. The city’s insurance company is investigating the matter.

“DCI has been contacted in the past by officials in Troy … on the Taser incident, but we are not investigating that matter, nor have we investigated that in the past,” said Justice Department spokesperson Kevin O’Brien.

Hammons said that in order to shield the city from a lawsuit, the matter must be looked into.

“I’m not taking sides,” Hammons said. “Everybody is going to get a fair shake. We’re doing these things to protect the city.” 

McLeod’s name was dragged into Thursday’s radio broadcast because Walters and Pearson allegedly said that they would soon be rid of McLeod, possibly a reference to Walters’ complaint against him.

With McLeod, who has worked on the force for four years, and Walters both on administrative leave, the only working TPD officer is Pearson.

McLeod, meanwhile, is overwhelmed by the amount of support he has received. His voice cracked Monday as he described his gratitude during a phone interview.

“You know, it’s hard to talk about it because it’s very emotional for me,” he said. “I knew that a lot of people supported me but to look at Facebook, it just means so much to me because I love what I do.”

The Facebook website was filled with positive comments about McLeod.

In addition, his sister, Nancee Tallmadge, gave out blue ribbons for McLeod supporters at B-Rocks Basics and had people leave their signature.

“It’s not a petition,” she said about the 56 signatures she received by Monday afternoon. “A lot of people don’t do Facebook, so I started it Saturday afternoon so people could show their support.”

She said she doesn’t know what she will do with them.

“I hope people see this and see the support for Bob,” she said. “This is a good cop and a good person.”

McLeod’s neighbor, Linda Rose, agrees.

“He has been my neighbor for 14 years,” Rose said. “You couldn’t ask for a more honest, family-oriented man ever.”

McLeod said he looks forward to going back to work.

“I’m trying so hard to be cleared of this, get back to work and be with the people that support me,” McLeod said.