The police chief of Oakboro, North Carolina, has been placed on unpaid leave after he told officers how they can obtain fake vaccine cards. Oakboro Town Administrator Doug Burgess told Chief TJ Smith that he was being suspended for two weeks without pay and would be on probation for six months for telling officers about a “clinic” where they could get vaccine cards without having to get vaccinated.
Burgess said that Smith engaged in “willful acts that endanger the property of others” and “fraud,” in violation of the town’s personnel policy and the police department’s policy manual.
Smith admitted that he made a mistake but denied that he intentionally told officers to break the law.
“A friend called me with some information about a mobile vaccination clinic. It was a busy morning like every other busy morning. After I got off the phone with that friend, I called two other officers (not in my department) and passed on information about what was described as a “self-vaccination” clinic,” Smith said, according to the Stanly News & Press. “I got one phone call, hung up, and made two others. I didn’t sit back and digest the information, ruminate on it, or otherwise give it much thought. I just passed it on.”
“I’m owning that. It was a mistake, and I shared misinformation. That’s true. I wanted to say something about this before now, but with everything going on, it was best that I wait for the investigative process to conclude,” Smith added.