• Former MPD officer facing serious charges had 'significant problems' on the job, former deputy says

    By: Greg Coy


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Documentation of a Memphis police officer’s continuous problems may have placed the public at risk.

    Yet, he was allowed to continue working until the department discovered accusations involving an 8-year-old California girl.  

    RELATED: Former MPD officer arrested, facing 48 counts of Sexual Acts Against a Minor

    FOX13 Investigates obtained Officer Andrew Hellums' nearly 400 page-long field training evaluation reports, which documented his difficulties.

    Hellums was having trouble making the grade after being on the job for nine months and MPD gave him remedial training, but it wasn't enough.  

    Cadets graduating from the Memphis Police Academy undergo two-and-a-half months of field training, with a veteran officer as a supervisor and documentation of their strengths and weaknesses. 

    Former Shelby County Deputy Mike Collins told FOX13 that a field training officer acts as a drill sergeant when an officer is a rookie because it is always overwhelming.

    RELATED: MPD may have known about serious charges against former officer for months, retired deputy says

    “The expectations of actually getting out in the field after you've gone through the training (is always overwhelming)," Collins said.

    FOX13 reviewed every page of former MPD officer Andrew Hellums' 388-page field training and daily observation reports.  

    During his first week, the supervisor complimented him for showing up to work on time and displaying initiative at a burglary call, but other problems started to surface.  

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    By the middle of February, a supervisor recommended remedial training for Hellums and wrote that Hellums "has trouble grasping and retaining most aspects of the job" and "is not able to complete the job efficiently.”  

    Collins reviewed the same documents and said the issues were major. 

    “There were problems, but they were kind of significant problems, like safety issues. He wasn't listening to the radio," Collins said. “His writing skills were poor and his deductive reasoning to apply the law was nonexistent as well.”

    According to the documents, supervisors were not satisfied with Hellums’ progress. 

    In June, the field training officer documented "mistakes in Hellums’ reports and his failure of knowing what charges to apply to a DUI driver who left the scene after a crash."  

    One field training officer wrote that Hellums "needs to pay more attention when driving. He nearly turned in front of a vehicle."  

    He also noted that Hellums “did not check a driver for weapons who had been involved in a fight. “

    In July, the problems persisted.  

    According to the observation reports, Hellums needed help "getting back to the interstate from Regional One,” which is the main trauma hospital where both victims and suspects of a violent crime were taken. 

    While Hellums is complimented for "giving it his all in every situation,” a field training officer reprimanded him because he "did not do a thorough search of a suspect and has trouble multi-tasking." 

    “Apparently he was just not grasping it," Collins said after reading the report.  

    FOX13 asked Collins if he thought Hellums was cut out for the police force. 

    "This was not his job," Collin said.  

    FOX13 asked Collins if he thought Hellums was putting the public at risk, based on the daily observation reports. 

    “Absolutely, every day that he is out there is the potential that he is putting the public in danger, as well as himself," Collins said.

    MPD ordered another round of remedial training for Hellums. 

    According to the documents, Hellums repeated some of the same mistakes in August and September. 

    By the middle of September, nine months after Hellums graduated from the academy, the field training officer wrote his September recommendation for Hellums. 

    “He can function in a limited capacity, in a two-man unit, but he’s not capable of handling himself in a one-man unit,” the field training officer wrote. 

    According to the documents, the field training officer noticed that Hellums did not hear the suspect was still on the scene during a domestic violence call, and by the time Hellums realized it, the suspect left.  

    In September, the field training officer wrote, "Hellums removed a driver from a vehicle and did not see the 9MM pistol on the floor of the suspect’s car.”  

    MPD terminated Hellums on Feb. 1, 2019. 

    Collins told FOX13 the decision was inevitable. 

    "In my opinion it was way overdue,” Collins said. “It was time to go ahead and sever ties with this guy.”

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