I think I may have met Tom Fleming once or maybe twice. I did know his brother – Fr. Jim and his sister from working Camp Fatima.
I’ve lived here in Lowell all my life and have seen now Sergeant Thomas Fleming work his way up from a Patrol officer to running the Lowell Police Academy. I also saw Tom when I worked for Parks and Rec. through his work with the Special Olympics. Every year for the longest time, I remember Tom donating his time to this event.
His Bio on the City Police Academy site states:
In 2004 he received a citation on the floor of the Massachusetts Senate for his volunteer work with Special Olympics Massachusetts. He takes great pride in the fact that he was inducted into the Massachusetts Special Olympics Hall of Fame 1998 for 15 years of volunteering to the organization through the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Sgt. Fleming has received five awards of merit and service while a member of the Lowell Police Department.
Before becoming Academy Director, Sgt. Fleming was assigned to the Patrol Division as Street Supervisor on the late night shift for four years. Prior to being promoted to sergeant in 1991, he worked in the patrol division on the early night shift for fourteen years. His duties covered all aspects of patrol. Prior to beginning his career in Lowell in 1982 he was a patrol officer in Nashua, NH for two years.
Sgt. Fleming has taught at the recruit level as well as the in-service and specialized training since 1985. He has not only taught in Massachusetts but also for law enforcement agencies throughout New England. His area of expertise is Health & Wellness and Stress Management. He is a certified Physical Fitness Specialist by the Institute of Aerobic Research, Dallas, TX.
The Column Blog and newspaper are reporting based on at best suspicious ,circumstantial evidence that Sgt. Fleming may have cheated on a recent exam.
Fleming who has served for 32 years has seen the constant attacks on the Lowell police by the Sun and knows about political infighting among police officers. He could have stayed and fought to clear his name but instead he gathered with his family, he has been married since 1979 and is father of five children and two grandchildren and chose to retire than fight against a stacked biased deck.
It doesn’t matter now if he did or did not cheat, he has been labeled a cheater by some other officers and the newspaper and no amount of work can undo the damage to his reputation they have caused.
He did issue a statement to the Sun:
“It is difficult for me to not legally challenge the accusations at this time in a more formal setting; I choose not to do so for many reasons. As a union president, and having spent the last 20 years training young officers to support each other, I do not believe that a formal dispute would advance the solidarity of officers who so desperately need to stick together in an increasingly dangerous occupation. Looking at the enormous amount of evidence that refutes the allegations, I am comfortable that anyone who looks at it objectively will conclude that the allegations are not true. These allegations are a desperate attempt to ruin my reputation and career by some throughout the department and by some at the highest level of the police department.”
I say Thank YOU to Sgt. Fleming and his family for the time in service to your city, the effort you made to train young men and women and for a job well done. For setting an example with your dedicated training to fitness and law enforcement and dedication to those special Olympians.
While the SUN may show you in a negative light, the many thousand of people you have helped and the hundreds you have trained to be law enforcement professionals know what you have done for them and for the citizens of Lowell.
Enjoy a well deserved retirement along with much Thanks from a grateful citizen.