From Local 3 News: A man has been arrested for carrying a gun on school property while impersonating an SRO at a Rhea County High School football game.
According to the arrest report, Michael W. Ballard was taken into custody during the Rhea County High School football game on October 21st.
Police say Ballard was on the football field with a portable radio as he identified himself multiple times as an SRO/officer with Hamilton County. Ballard stated that he was checking on his child on the field.
When asked what school Ballard worked at, he began stuttering and appeared nervous saying a private school before returning to the bleachers.
At this time, police attempted to verify with another officer whether Ballard was an SRO. It was discovered that he was not confirmed as a sheriff department employee with Hamilton County. Police also spoke with Ballard’s former in-law who also stated he was not a police officer.
When Ballard was approached about his identity as a law enforcement officer, he stated his identification was in his vehicle and that he was armed with a loaded pistol in a holster on his right hip. He also refused to give any information when asked for his birth date to confirm his identity.
Police then secured the firearm as Ballard began requesting help on the portable radio.
Michael Ballard was arrested for Criminal Impersonation and School Property.
It was later discovered that Ballard was a licensed armed security officer in Chattanooga and has a valid handgun permit. Ballard was not on an official assignment at the Rhea County High School at the time of the arrest.
His supervisor at the security company reported that Ballard works in downtown Chattanooga as a security guard. This incident all occurred in Rhea County, Tennessee.