BRADENTON -- Usually following a speech, attendees simply gather up their belongings and leave.
But after the Manatee County School District's new investigator Troy Pumphrey spoke Tuesday night before 32 members of the Manatee Forum Women's Republican Club at Pier 22, people lined up to enthusiastically shake his hand.
"We appreciate the work you are doing," said club member Deedie Parker.
The 51-year-old Pumphrey didn't reveal much about his high-profile investigations over the last seven months, including the Rod Frazier case, which involves unwanted advances reportedly made to students and school personnel.
His direct manner and
frankness, however, made the point the school district has hired a tough former police investigator.
"I'm all about the facts," said Pumphrey, who is retired from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington D.C. "I investigate misconduct."
Pumphrey investigated Frazier for inappropriate conduct and his findings will be presented at multiple court trials.
Pumphrey said of the Frazier probe: "It was not a unique case for me."
"When names came up it was the first time I heard those names," Pumphrey said of Frazier and others at Manatee High School. "I had no dog in the hunt."
Pumphrey, married 29 years with three children, is into classic cars such as his 1957 Ford Fairlane. He said he hit the ground running in July, 2013, clearing up 23 open cases in his first three months.
"I told my secretary, don't be friends with people on the floor because one day I might have to investigate them," Pumphrey said.
He now has nine cases open at most, he said.
"Since I have been here, the cases generally involve inappropriate interactions," Pumphrey said.
Before Pumphrey took the job in Manatee, he said he asked Superintendent Rick Mills who he would answer to in the course of investigating.
"You answer to me and only me," Pumphrey said Mills replied.
Pumphrey said he has come to believe in Mills.
"Our superintendent works tirelessly," Pumphrey said. "He works early in the morning to late at night. He has his thumb on everything. I see his good work paying off. He is not easy to work for. But he is all about the children."
Pumphrey said he understands there is some unease in the district.
"Our employees are trying to figure out who we are," Pumphrey said. "But I think morale is moving forward. I think there is better confidence."
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond.