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Mississippi police officer fired after being decertified in neighboring Tennessee

Olive Branch Mayor Ken Adams (left) shakes hands with newly sworn-in officer DeMario Pree weeks ahead of the policeman's decertification in Tennessee. (Photo courtesy of the Olive Branch Police Department)

A former Olive Branch policeman has been prohibited from working as a law enforcement officer in the state of Tennessee following an incident at a Walmart in Hickory Hill, a suburb of Memphis.

The Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission on Thursday voted to decertify DeMario Pree as a law enforcement officer. The vote came as Pree failed to show up for a scheduled hearing based on reports of his negligence with a squad-issued firearm.

According to a report from WREG, back in early March, Pree, who was employed by the Collierville Police Department, was working an off-duty security position at the department store. During one of his security shifts, Pree claimed to have been overcome with an illness and went to the store’s restroom.

He then unholstered his gun and placed the firearm on a changing table where he left it as he left work early due to feeling sick. Roughly an hour later, the officer noticed that he did not have his weapon and returned to the Walmart location to find it.

After canvassing the restroom, searching the purse of a woman who was in the bathroom, and going through surveillance footage from the store, Pree remained empty-handed. Pree then informed his security supervisors that he had accidentally brought in his squad-issued firearm rather than the one he uses for off-duty work.

One of Pree’s colleagues in the Collierville Police Department later spotted the officer at a local Academy Sports store purchasing a gun identical to his service weapon. Upon finding out about the transaction, CPD officials scheduled a disciplinary hearing for Pree, but the officer turned in his resignation letter ahead of the conduct review.

Pree began working as an officer with the Olive Branch Police Department in north Mississippi. However, his tenure was short-lived as the department terminated his employment following the results of Thursday’s POST ruling.

“Effective immediately, Demario Pree is no longer employed by the Olive Branch Police Department,” a statement from OBPD reads. “Personnel matters are not discussed by the Olive Branch Police Department nor the City of Olive Branch.”

Though Pree is no longer with OBPD, no word has been handed down on whether or not he can act as a law enforcement officer in any other Mississippi city or county.

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