KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The School Resource Officer at Fulton High School was arrested on Monday after investigators with the Knox County Sheriff's Office said they got a warrant for aggravated domestic assault.
The victim met with investigators on Monday seeking an order of protection, according to a release from authorities. After speaking with the victim, they got the warrant. Later that same day, officer John Pickens was taken into custody at Knoxville Police Department headquarters
Officer John Pickens has worked with KPD since June 2006 and previously served as an officer with the department.
He was immediately placed on administrative leave with his police powers suspended, according to KPD. Internal Affair at KPD will conduct an investigation once the criminal case is over, they said.
“Officer Pickens’ alleged actions are concerning and completely unacceptable, and we take those allegations seriously," said Chief of Police Paul Noel. "Nobody is above the law, and that especially applies to those who are sworn to uphold those very same laws. We are working to gather all of the pertinent facts surrounding his arrest and will act as quickly as possible to handle this matter definitively and appropriately.”
KPD was the first agency in Tennessee to be accepted into the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Project on August 13. It is meant to train officers on how they can hold peers accountable, hoping to create departments where police avoid misconduct. It is a national effort to create cultures where officers intervene to prevent misconduct as well as promote health and wellness.
It seeks to help police officers know how to stop other officers if they start showing unnecessarily harmful behavior. The New Orleans Police Department, where Noel previously worked, used the program to develop the "Ethical Policing is Courageous Peer Intervention Program."