VERO BEACH, Fla. - He's spent the past decade capturing some of the most dangerous animals around.
But last month, Bruce Dangerfield, A Vero Beach Animal Control Officer, was caught on tape, saying this: "It's going to be tough, there's a bunch of (racial slur) living there."
Dangerfield said, he knows he messed up.
"You can make an easy mistake, and be labeled prejudiced," he said.
On that day, Dangerfield said he was sent out to pick up a dead dog in the pouring rain. He was frustrated about getting bad directions from the Humane Society.
"I said no, no, no, it's the right address," he recalled. "I just, still had my mic down, from telling where I was."
When he was trying to communicate his location, that's when he said the n-word.
"Just was upset about it, and blurted it out," Dangerfield explained.
Vero Beach Police Chief Dave Currey said Dangerfield is on two-year probation. He was required to complete a five-day unpaid suspension. He also attended sensitivity training and counseling sessions.
"Without question, it was out of line," said Currey, "He represents not only himself as an animal control officer, it's a civilian position, but he represents the Vero Beach Police Department and the City of Vero Beach as well. That's why we felt it was appropriate to take quick and timely action on the incident."
In a letter to the police department and the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, Dangerfield wrote:
"I am profoundly embarrassed and ashamed that I have done anything to jeopardize the relationship I have with each and every one of you. I will not attempt to offer excuses for my behavior other than to say it was uttered in the heat of the moment under less than ideal conditions and is not behavior that I consider acceptable by any means."
The city council voted Tuesdy to eliminate his position, not because of this racial slur, but because of city budget cuts.
Dangerfield said he regrets the offensive language he used, more than the hits he's taking on his payroll.
"A lot of people say, wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have your finger on the mic button. I say, no, it would have been better if I hadn't had said it, because I don't even say that in private."
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