Football coach wearing police uniform allegedly confronts referee

- For 15 years, a Polk County referee has made the tough calls from the sidelines. But now, the referee, who doesn't want to be identified, is calling foul on a police officer's behavior.

The incident happened last month, during a Bok Academy football game. Officer Travis Worley showed up to help coach in his full police uniform.

"I pulled the [head] coach off to the side at half-time and said, have your officer, if he's going to continue to be on the sideline, remove his firearm and Taser. And go on with the game, no problem," the referee said Monday.

The ref said he made two requests to the head coach, but Worley didn't change out of his uniform. According to a formal complaint that was filed, when leaving the game, the referee says Worley confronted him.

"He stopped me. I was walking to my vehicle. So he basically brought me to a halt. 'Stop, I need to talk to you," he said.

According to the complaint, the referee said Worley asked for his name, and wrote it down. He said Worley asked him if he had told the head coach law enforcement wasn't allowed on the field.

"When he walked off, he said, 'I'm going to check you out.' I worked in law enforcement, so I know what that means, when a cop just tries to find something wrong with someone," the referee said.

The ref said the weapons were the only thing he took issue with.

The Lake Wales Police Department is launching an internal investigation. Officials said whether or not an officer can be in uniform off-duty falls into a gray area.

"You may have to run by the store on your way home or run by a parent teacher conference. You don't necessarily have to take the uniform off as soon as you leave," Lake Wales Police Lt. David Black said Monday.

On his football field, the ref says the rules are clear.

"That's just not allowed in sports," he said.

Worley is still on duty during the police department's internal investigation. The referee is now consulting with an attorney about possible further action.

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