Officer forced to resign over controversial training poster

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-03 17:58:23-05

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) – A Petersburg police officer says he lost his job after he ripped down an image that reminded him of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Petersburg police will not comment about what they call a "personnel issue."

Sources tell CBS 6 News reporter Jon Burkett that the Petersburg police officer has resigned because of the training poster hanging in a roll call room that showed a man pointing a gun at a child's head.

CBS 6 News opted to blur the picture that some officers said was offensive and in bad taste.

However, police say the sign is necessary for law enforcement training.

"If they knew I was talking to you, I'd lose my job," one patrol officer told CBS 6 News.

The officer, whose identity CBS 6 is protecting, claims the so-called training poster has caused quite a stir inside the department.

"It's an offensive poster with the word "think" above it," the officer said. "It upset a bunch of patrol officers."

However, First Sergeant Carl Moore, the man who hung up the poster, says the graphic image is necessary for young officers to soak in the reality that things like this happen -- and could break out in their city.

"This is a dangerous brutal job in which lives are at risk," Moore said. "It's to think about what your response would be if you encounter something like this. It's called immediate action and we are trying to get officers to critically think."

But the disguised officer disagrees and thinks image could cloud judgment. That's why he and others wanted the poster removed, especially after the events of the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

Police leadership said they never received a complaint about the poster, but the patrol officer disagrees.

"To see an image of a man standing over a child with a gun to his head who is crying. It outraged us all. Our calls to the patrol lieutenant were on deaf ears," he said.