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Niejelow suspended from DPD

The Durham Police Department has temporarily suspended the privileges of reserve officer Alex Niejelow pending the outcome of an internal investigation, said Lt. Norman Blake of the DPD.

While Blake could not confirm the reason for the suspension, multiple sources said Niejelow, a senior at Duke, gave assistance to a student who was a victim of a recent Central Campus peeping incident, at the request of the student's friend. The Duke University Police Department is currently conducting its own investigation of the alleged peeper, which means that the case would not be handled by a DPD officer like Niejelow.

Nalini Milne, a University employee who works as the advertising office manager for The Chronicle, identified herself as the person who asked Niejelow to help her friend and said Niejelow was not acting as a DPD investigator.

"This is a girl I know who was fearful, and I asked him to talk to her just to offer some words of advice," she said. "Alex has paid a high price for doing me a favor. He wasn't doing anything more than helping out a family friend. It wasn't in any way in his capacity as a Durham cop."

Maj. Robert Dean of the DUPD declined comment on the matter because of the department's policy against discussing ongoing investigations.

Niejelow said he is confident that the situation will be resolved soon and is looking forward to continuing his involvement in the Durham community. He characterized his suspension as an "administrative leave" during which the DPD is gathering facts.

Niejelow serves as vice president for facilities and athletics of Duke Student Government and has been a reserve officer since graduating from the Durham Technical Community College police academy June 7. He works on an unpaid, part-time basis for the DPD, but had the full authority of an officer prior to his suspension.

Sgt. Rick Layton, a retired DPD officer who taught Niejelow at the police academy, said earlier this year that Niejelow was a committed student. "He is quite sincere in this," Layton told the News and Observer of Raleigh. "He firmly believes in it. With time, I think he'll be an excellent police officer because he cares."

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