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  • Police officer loses job after shooting alligator

    By Ana Ribeiro
    Staff Writer


    Published: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 3:05 p.m.
    Last Modified: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 6:47 p.m.
    Leland police officers involved in the May shooting of an 11-foot alligator will not face charges, but one of them has lost his job.

    The decision followed a three-month investigation by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the district attorney, after the police officers killed the alligator as it lay on N.C. 133.

    “We’re satisfied one of the offenders we had concerns about is no longer with the police department,” District Attorney Rex Gore said of Tim Caulder, the officer who lost his job. “I feel very confident it was in part because of the incident.”

    Reached at home on Tuesday, Caulder referred to the incident as “the euthanization of the alligator.”

    “I wasn’t the only one involved,” he said. “There were other officers.”

    Caulder would give no further comments on Tuesday.

    Leland police Capt. Nick Giacobbe, interim chief at the time of the incident, had defended the officers’ actions. He said they had put the alligator out of its misery, while keeping in mind public safety, when they found it had been run over and was too injured to move off the street south of Mallory Creek on May 23.

    But Wildlife Resources Sgt. Bill Lester said Tuesday the killing wasn’t necessary.

    The alligator is considered a threatened species that should be killed only when it’s putting someone’s life in danger, Lester said.

    The right thing to do, Gore said, would have been for the police officers to immediately call Wildlife Resources before taking any action.

    Giacobbe had said county dispatchers told police they contacted the state agency before the alligator was killed but gotten no response. Lester denied receiving any calls until after the shooting.

    Neither Leland officials nor Caulder made it clear whether he resigned or was fired. Caulder left the police department on Aug. 8, the same day Officer James Otto, also involved in the shooting, was disciplined, said Leland police Chief Timothy Jayne.

    Otto was not suspended and remains with the police department, Jayne said, declining to give further details on the action.

    Both Otto and Caulder shot the alligator in the head, using 10 to 11 rounds until they were sure it was dead, Giacobbe said in May. Officer J. Fennell was also on the scene, along with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, unsuccessfully trying to get the alligator to move with a beanbag gun and a Taser, said Giacobbe.

    Lester, who began the investigation, said Caulder apparently was the one who made the decision to shoot the alligator.

    “We regret the loss of the alligator and the way the situation was handled,” Jayne said on Tuesday, adding that he and Town Manager Bill Farris made the decision about the disciplinary actions.

    Lester said the fact that the police department took action against the officers influenced the decision not to press charges, and that area police officers will receive training on how to better handle wildlife calls.
    Those found guilty of wrongfully harming an alligator, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, can face a replacement cost of $4,200 for the lost alligator and even jail time, Lester said. But while the Leland police case could be grounds for charges, it could have been difficult to prove, he said.

    Ana Ribeiro: 343-2327

    [email protected]
    http://www.starnewsonline.com/articl...CLES/809090265
    Life is like a bullet shot out of a gun, it goes quick and you can't take it back....so make sure your aim is good.

  • #2
    If they had not gotten the alligator out of the road they would have been disciplined for not taking action.

    It was a lose-lose situation for the officers involved. A lot of times that's what happens when someone doesn't pick up their phone and then denies ever receiving a call in the first place. But it should have been easy enough to prove that a call was placed to Wildlife Resources.

    Comment


    • #3
      I guess I dont understand what he was fired for. What would the wildlife resources have done? Take it to a vet clinic and try to fix it? I do sometimes question some peoples common sense, but it should have been obvious that the gator was injured to the point of becoming imobile.

      However shooting it 10-11 times each to make sure it was dead kinda reminds me of the scene in "Trading Spaces" where they were hunting with assault rifles for ducks. "Musta Had a heart attack!"
      The Red, Bold, Italic is my official sarcasm tag.



      "I think many years ago an advanced civilization intervened with us genetically and gave us just enough intelligence to develop dangerous technology but not enough to use it wisely. Then they sat back to watch the fun. Kind of like a human zoo. And you know what? They're getting their money's worth"
      George Carlin

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      • #4
        retarded...they should go and take that wildlife warden and shot his pet alligator...

        The right thing to do, Gore said, would have been for the police officers to immediately call Wildlife Resources before taking any action.
        there problemy at home sleeping, meanwhile theres a a "11-foot alligator" laying in the middle of the damn road waiting to cause an accident, they should of let a local blast it or told a semi to run it over...this is a pathetic scene...misdemeanor for "wrongfully harming an alligator," LOL hopefully the xcops buddys hooks this warden up when he is out in the park smoking up and singing praise to the trees
        "What the problem is?"

        Comment


        • #5
          Gosh....I could see this situation in resulting in a policy change or a written reprimand but firing an officer?
          "We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." -President Ronald Reagan

          Good people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tucker6900 View Post
            I guess I dont understand what he was fired for. What would the wildlife resources have done? Take it to a vet clinic and try to fix it? I do sometimes question some peoples common sense, but it should have been obvious that the gator was injured to the point of becoming imobile.

            However shooting it 10-11 times each to make sure it was dead kinda reminds me of the scene in "Trading Spaces" where they were hunting with assault rifles for ducks. "Musta Had a heart attack!"
            That was "Distinguished Gentlemen" with Eddie Murphy my friend.
            Originally Posted by VegasMetro
            maybe it’s me but I think a six pack and midget porn makes for good times?????

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tucker6900 View Post
              However shooting it 10-11 times each to make sure it was dead kinda reminds me of the scene in "Trading Spaces" where they were hunting with assault rifles for ducks. "Musta Had a heart attack!"
              When I was a child in the 1960s I saw some local officers shoot an alligator snapping turtle that had ended up on a homeowner's property in Connecticut. If shooting an alligator is anything like shooting an alligator snapping turtle, I can understand why it took 10-11 rounds. You're trying to hit a brain the size of a pea and until you do the animal will continue to move with NO indication that you have put it out of its misery.

              Pete

              PS - I'm betting they don't shoot snapping turtles here anymore either.

              Comment


              • #8
                This is ridiculous. I know I am down here in Florida, were we have an abundance of alligators, but if I would have called the Wildlife game commission out they would have picked the gator up and euthanized it themselves. I think they euthanize any gator over 6 feet or something close to it.

                I am authorized by my agency to discharge my firearm to put ANY animal out of misery whether it is a gator, horse, cow or squirrel.....

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would tased it till it complied....lol
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hopefully they are civil service and he has grounds to appeal. While I do agree w/ protecting endangered species, I'm not understanding the departments response to this situation.

                    Although they may be endangered / protected in NC, Florida and Louisiana have an abundance of alligators. Sounds as though multiple agencies and / or officers were involved and he became an unnecessary statistic.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dang, I shot a raccoon yesterday... and I'm still a probie!!! I hope I don't lose my job.

                      In all seriousness... what the hell? An 11-foot alligator... that's immobile? Had they just stood around trying to think up a plan to move the thing without being torn in half, there would have been an accident. Then, when trying to move the thing, they could have been torn in half anyways... even with the plan. Better to just put it out of it's misery and move the thing WITHOUT worry of injury to the officers.

                      I would have done the same thing. Requested a call to the wildlife agency and told them to hustle their butts to the scene. No answer? Well then, it's back on me to take care of the situation without injury to myself or others. If that means shooting it... then so be it. The thing was suffering anyways... ending it's life was the humane thing to do. Now give that officer his job back.
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        forget giving the officer his job back, give him the wildlife guys job!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I believe I saw a show the other day that there is a law that any alligator over 6 feet is euthanized when caught. I want to say that it is a city ordinance that nearly every Florida city/township has... I would imagine there is more to the firing than what is read here, but if there isn't I truly feel sorry for the officer who lost his job.
                          Last edited by swdep; 09-21-2008, 09:29 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Hopefully another (better) agency will take him.
                            When talking to a fool, be sure he isn't doing the same.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't know if animal rights activists have put a scare into government, or if some police administrators have just gotten so scared that they can't handle officers involved in anything controversial.

                              Last year, an officer I know shot a vicious dog with a bean bag. Unfortunately, the bean bag hit the dog in the head, instead of the torso. It didn't kill it, but the owner had it euthanized because it had muliple fractures to it's head.

                              The owner sued the city and the officer was investigated for animal cruelty (unfounded). After they determined he wouldn't be criminal charged, he was "given the option" to resign...which he did.

                              Animals pose a serious problem for officers. It is difficult enough to deal with a vicious dog, I can't imagine what freakin' alligator that is injured (and probable pizzed off) would be like to deal with.

                              Getting DOW to respond in Colorado is like pulling teeth. Figure at least an hour and a half response time. If it is like that in Florida, sometimes you have to do what you have to do for the sake of the public and the animal.

                              Without being there, this sounds like an administration that went overboard.
                              "Freedom's Never Free"

                              "Go ahead. Skin it. Skin that smoke wagon and see what happens."

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