Mountain City, TN – A Tennessee police officer has lost his job after a tense stand-off with a squirrel inside a store.
According to police documents, ex-Officer Jody Putnam was inside a Dollar General Store in Mountain City, northeast of Johnson City, two weeks ago when employees noticed that a squirrel had wandered in. How Putnam chose to intervene seems to have cost him his badge, reports WJHL.
Putnam apparently discharged his firearm and shot at the squirrel while inside the store. After that failed to work, he turned to his pepper spray and chased the rogue rodent around before apparently giving up.
The store’s owner, Carl Duffield, was amused, but not impressed.
“Shooting back there, of course that should not have been, that should not have happened,” he said, adding, “then they began to spray it with mace and pepper spray.”
And of course, since the pepper spray was discharged inside the tiny store, it wasn’t just the squirrel that was affected.
“There was a lot of people that come out and just like me they came out and they were coughing and a hacking it was comical,” said Duffield, “but I’m sure they didn’t feel that way, the customers that came out.”
Mountain City’s police department apparently did not feel the same way. According to the policy and procedures for the department, police officers who fire their guns are to immediately report it to a supervisor and make a written statement. Guess which former officer did not elect to do so?
“Through a violation of the police department policy Officer Jody Putnam’s employment, as a Mountain City Police Officer, was terminated by the Board of Mayor and Alderman,” said Mountain City Mayor Lawrence Keeble.
Putnam was dismissed on October 2, 2013. He had worked with Mountain City Police for five years. Aside from a few certifications and details about his firing, little else was in his personnel file. He had previously worked at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, but resigned after 14 years.
He could probably go back now, but then he’ll have to face the possibility of being branded “Officer Nuts” or “the Squirrel Guy.”