BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- The Boynton Beach Police Department (BBPD) has released body camera footage from an officer who captured an alligator and released it back into the wild.
BBPD says Officer Alfredo Vargas responded to a call from a resident of Hunter's Run a few weeks ago who found an alligator lying by his front door.
Officer Vargas put his experience handling and wrestling alligators at the Native Village in Hollywood, Florida to good use by safely capturing the gator with assistance from another officer.
“It was a little aggressive and didn’t want me near its space,” Vargas said.
In 2004, before he became an officer, Vargas took a tour of an alligator rescue facility.
“I just thought it was pretty cool looking,” Vargas said.
He signed up to get training in how to capture an alligator. Now, 13 years later, he is putting his skills to good use.
Vargas made a clicking noise in the beginning of the video, mimicking the noise of baby alligators.
“It normally gets the gators to react because they’re very protective of their young,” Vargas said.
He was trying to get the alligator away from the door so he could catch it. After the rope slips up several times, he switches techniques and puts his rain jacket over the alligator’s head.
“I just tried to cover its eyes,” Vargas said. “I tried to calm the alligator down.”
That did the trick and the animal stopped fighting him, allowing him to grab the alligator with his bare hands.
The video shows three and a half minutes of heart pounding adrenaline. But Vargas said he was never scared.
“Not at all,” Vargas said with a laugh.
BBPD says Officer Vargas called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and learned that it would be about 30 minutes before a trapper could arrive, and that it was likely that the gator would be killed after capture.
Officer Vargas said he didn't want that to happen and FWC advised that due to his experience with handling alligators he could release the reptile elsewhere.
BBPD says after capturing it, Officer Vargas put the alligator in his patrol car and took him out to a canal by Congress Avenue and Miner Road, where he removed the tape from his mouth and put him back in the water.