A North Carolina police chief has been suspended for telling other law enforcement officers how to get fake COVID-19 vaccine cards. TJ Smith, the police chief of Oakboro, Stanly County, was placed on two weeks unpaid leave and six months probation from December 21st following an investigation into his actions.

Oakboro Police Dept. Chief TJ Smith

A private investigation firm that was hired by the town to investigate Smith alleged that the police chief had told officers and troopers that there was a vaccination clinic where they would be given a syringe to go in a bathroom to self-inject or dispose of the vaccine.

The police chief allegedly said there was an arrangement with a pharmacist and that either way, the officers would receive a vaccination card, the investigation said.

Smith said in a statement to WMBF News that he had “made a mistake” and that although he was vaccinated, he was just trying to help others.

“I know my heart well enough to know that this came from a place of caring, that I realize I made a mistake now, and that they will allow me to continue serving in the best way I know how.”

Chief Smith is widely loved and respected in the town of Oakboro, with many citizens coming to his defense, citing his kind work for the community. However, the FBI, who spoke to FOX 46 about the incident, said that misrepresenting yourself as a vaccinated person was a “serious crime” that “put other people in danger”.

The suspension of Smith comes as police departments in the US protest draconian vaccine mandates that have forced them to show proof of vaccination or face loss of pay or even their jobs.

A video report by FOX 46 Charlotte:

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