Stanly County police chief on leave after telling officers about false vax cards

North Carolina

Oakboro Police Chief TJ Smith (Town of Oakboro photo via WJZY)

OAKBORO, N.C. (AP) — A police chief in a small North Carolina town has been placed on unpaid leave because he reportedly told officers about a “clinic” where they could get COVID-19 vaccination cards without actually being vaccinated.

Nexstar affiliate WJZY in Charlotte reports that Oakboro Police Chief TJ Smith was put on leave for a two-week period that started Tuesday. The town is east of Charlotte in Stanly County

Oakboro Town Administrator Doug Burgess wrote Smith a letter that informed him of the punishment. Burgess said the chief violated the town’s personnel policy, which bars acts of fraud, endangering the property of others and serving a conflicting interest.

The town manager says any more violations would lead to discipline, which could include dismissal.

Smith said in a statement that he made a mistake.

“I didn’t profit from it,” the chief said. “I couldn’t possibly profit from it, and I didn’t do it from a place of malice. I care deeply about others, and I sincerely appreciate that I have a job that allows me to serve them and to see things improve in my community.”

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