TAMPA, Fla. – A former Florida police officer is accused of possessing child pornography on several of his personal devices, authorities said.
Paul Leo Mumford, 61, who served with the Tampa Police Department from June 1986 to September 2015, was charged with 100 counts of child pornography, Police Chief Mary O’Connor said during a news conference.
O’Connor said the investigation into Mumford, who retired as a sergeant and became a reserve officer, began in December 2021, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Mumford was fired in February 2022, the newspaper reported.
Mumford had been part of the Tampa Police sex crimes unit for about a year beginning in 2008, according to WFLA-TV.
Judge Catherine Catlin briefly addressed that issue during Mumford’s arraignment on Thursday, the television station reported.
“It greatly concerns me that he may have access to this because of his position as a police officer,” Catlin said.
Mumford’s attorney, Morris Purcell, questioned why he was charged with so many counts of possession of child pornography, WFLA reported.
“One hundred counts?” Purcell told the court. “That’s abusive. That’s vindictive.
“We both know they don’t charge 100 counts in these kinds of cases.”
O’Connor said that detectives executed a series of search warrants at Mumford’s two homes — one in Hillsborough County and one in North Florida — where child pornographic images were recovered from his electronic devices, WTSP-TV reported.
“This case is disturbing and disappointing, to say the least,” O’Connor told reporters.
There is no evidence that Mumford obtained the child pornography from the Tampa Police Department, O’Connor said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
Mumford’s bond is set at $750,000, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.
“The actions of this retired officer do not represent the brave men and women of this department who go out and risk their lives on a daily basis to keep this community safe,” O’Connor told reporters.
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