A Mount Carmel Police officer was suspended after refusing to kill a skunk. On July 27, Officer David Dean was called out to assist animal control officer Eddie Seabolt after a badly injured baby skunk at bitten a 6-year-old girl. The officer was asked to shoot the potentially rabid animal, so that tests could be done to see if the skunk had rabies. However, the officer refused.
Mount Carmel prohibits its animal control officers from shooting / euthanizing animals, which is why the task was given to Officer Dean. When Officer Dean refused to kill the animal, Fire Chief Ryan Christian shot the animal instead.
Mount Carmel Assistant Chief Phillip Robinette stated that:
Officer Seabolt stated once Patrolman Dean arrived on the scene he told him he needed for him to kill the injured skunk because it had bitten a child and the head had to be sent off and be checked for rabies. (Seabolt) stated Patrolman Dean stated he couldn’t kill an animal and he refused to kill the animal, knowing it had bitten a child.
Assistant Chief Robinette also said that:
The department policy authorizes police officers, not the fire chief or animal control officer, to carry out the killing of animals when necessary. Patrolman Dean failed to carry out his duty, and he released his duty weapon to someone who is not his supervisor or partner, so I find him at fault on those two grounds.
Officer Dean was suspended for three days without pay and placed on probation for six months. In Officer Dean’s official reprimand letter, Chief Robinette stated that:
You failed to perform your duty as an officer for the Mount Carmel Police Department by refusing to put down an injured skunk that had bitten a small child, and you put the town in a liable situation by giving your duty weapon to an unauthorized person who discharged the weapon three times to accomplish the task,” Jackson stated in the letter. “All turned out well in this instance, however actions of this nature will not be tolerated in the future.
- In 2007, Officer Dean was fired from the same Mount Carmel Police Department for failing to complete his in-service training on time. Prior to that, Officer Dean was suspended for falsifying his time card with the department, for which he had to pay restitution.
- After being fired from Mount Carmel Police Department, Officer Dean worked for the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and Northeast Tennessee Community College campus security – jobs that he was forced to resign.
- After leaving that Sheriff’s Department, Officer Dean began working at nearby Bean Station Police Department, where he was later fired. According to Bean Station’s Mayor, Officer Dean “was not doing what I thought he should do as a police officer for my community. He was fired for the betterment of the department.”
- Then earlier this year, Officer Dean was suspended one day without pay for filing a false claim of ‘inappropriate behavior’ against a fellow officer. Officer Dean’s claim was proven to be false after video surveillance footage showed he was lying.
If you’re wondering why I labeled the officer a ‘gypsy cop’, here’s the definition: ‘Gypsy Cop’ is slang for a police officer who floats from department to department regardless of, or because of, misconduct or poor job performance.