VCU Police officer arrested, suspended on pornography charges

James Deford. Source: Richmond Police Department
James Deford. Source: Richmond Police Department

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A VCU police officer is on suspension after being charged with distributing child pornography.

35-year-old James Deford was arrested and taken into custody early Tuesday by Richmond police and the FBI.

Students on campus are stunned to hear about these charges.  They say this is humiliating and shameful for everyone involved.

James Deford spoke with NBC12 in his VCU police uniform last year about laptop safety.  Now, he's on the other side of the law and is facing two felony charges of distribution of child pornography. Students say Deford's arrest makes them reevaluate who's keeping them safe on campus.

"This is like shocking.  I have young nieces and nephews and I want them to feel safe if I want to bring them here.  Now it's just like, oh is this a safe campus," said Precious Lewis, a VCU sophomore.

Right now it's unclear what led police to Deford.  Police would only say the national internet crimes against children task force was involved in his arrest.  Students say this is an embarrassment for everyone at VCU.

"I'm pretty appalled that anybody associated with our campus would do something like that. It reflects badly on us and by extension it makes the students look bad too," said junior Justin Shaw.

Some students say the fact Deford is a police officer on campus makes this bad situation worse.

"The police should really be there to help you.  They shouldn't be doing this.  It's like they're not trustworthy," said Lewis.

VCU would not comment about Deford's arrest.  They say this is an active investigation and the university does not comment about personnel issues.

A VCU spokeswoman did not know if Deford has been suspended with, or without, pay.

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