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Why does this tiny town's police force need a missile launcher, and why are they aiming it at traffic?


LORETTO, Tenn. (CIRCA via WZTV) — What one Tennessee police department is calling an innocent joke has caused thousands of people to express outrage on social media.

The Loretto Police Department shared a Facebook post that shows an officer pointing an AT-4 missile launcher at traffic to get drivers to adhere to the 45-mph speed limit.

Loretto Police

But people aren't taking the image as a joke. Many people have responded saying it seems like the police officer is threatening citizens.

Police Chief Bobby Joe Killen told WZTV he couldn't believe the response.

“I’ve spent the last 30 years protecting this community, and in those 30 years, I would have put my life on the line for any of them, somebody referencing that I’d kill somebody, it upsets me,” Killen said.

The department has issued an apology.

Killen claims the weapon itself was just inoperable and never posed an actual threat.

“He borrowed it from a friend that actually bought it at a gun store, it’s inert, it doesn’t work, it’s a piece that you hang on the wall to talk about and people have really talked about this piece here,” Killen said.

Killen told WZTV that he thought about taking the post down, but decided against it saying that since it's already out there, taking it down wouldn't do any good.

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