Former Officer Speaks Out after Facebook Threats, Arrest

Former Officer Speaks Out after Facebook Threats, Arrest

A former West Tennessee Police officer is offering an apology after he went on a rant and made a series of threats on Facebook.
BOLIVAR, TN (abc24.com) - A former West Tennessee Police officer is offering an apology after he went on a rant and made a series of threats on Facebook.

Former Bolivar police officer Trent Wilbanks was charged with two counts of harassment in March 2013. One charge was dropped and the other remained. He pled no contest but spent more than a month in jail.

Wilbanks' Facebook posts mentioned his kids' elementary school, his wife, and other police officers. Police took these messages as serious threats.

Wilbanks says he's deeply sorry and never had any intentions of hurting anyone when he wrote those things on Facebook and wants to set the record straight.

"If you look at my last post it was a public apology to everybody I might've offended or unintentionally caused a fear that they might come to harm of their children,” said Trent Wilbanks.

Wilbanks, 46, wrote an apology on Facebook Thursday, May 9, and spoke out Friday about what was going through his mind a few months ago.

"If I had left the whiskey alone we wouldn't be having this interview right now,” said Wilbanks.

Wilbanks was in a dark place a year ago: marital problems, issues with his son's teacher at Bolivar Elementary, and being fired from the Bolivar Police Department. At one point, he even tried to commit suicide.

"I ran off to the woods with my duty weapon and seriously considered taking my own life,” he said.

All of that tension exploded the morning of March 25th when he logged on to Facebook.

"Lock and loaded, going to battle, suit up, I wasn't referring to physical violence,” said Wilbanks. "I wanted to shake them up, ‘Hey you might be getting some federal lawsuits.’”

In one Facebook post Wilbanks wrote, "You best lock and load boys 'cause I’m coming with a vengeance!” Another post, "Am I raving mad?! You damn right!" Extra officers were sent to Bolivar Elementary School as a precaution. Wilbanks had no clue of the consequences; officers arrested Wilbanks at his home and he spent 39 days in jail.

"Of course looking back I wish I would've taken all of it down and rephrased everything," he said. "23 years in law enforcement I would've known better."

Now that Wilbanks has been on both sides of the law he says this truly was a learning experience and hopes others will learn from it too.

"In my heart I'm ashamed, I'm aggravated, and I'm mad not at anyone but myself,” said the former cop. "Don't vent on public media, period, about anything because it's human nature it's going to be misinterpreted."

Wilbanks' 8-year-old daughter wants him to delete his Facebook account and he says he will. He says he's at a happier place with his family, he's still with is wife, and the family is trying to move forward.
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