Joe Exotic Was Chief of Police As A Teenager Because Of Course He Was

Before there was Tiger King—and Joe Exotic—there was Joe Schreibvogel: a teen with big dreams to work in law enforcement. Later in life, he'd become Joe Exotic, star in a super wild Netflix documentary, and go to prison for a list of illegal things. First, though, he was Chief of Police.

If your jaw just dropped, you're in good company.

The Tiger King star became a police officer immediately after high school, and when he was only 19, he found himself as Chief of Police of a small town in Texas called Eastvale, Texas, according to Texas Monthly.

The publication claims the department was small, so Exotic didn't have too much responsibility. Extreme crimes were rare, they wrote. He was starting to shape a life for himself, and clearly moving up the law enforcement ranks with ease. It was all before Exotic's sexuality tore his family apart and he tried to kill himself by driving off a bridge.

Joe Exotic
Joe Exotic wore a uniform long before he started adopting exotic animals. He was a cop right out of high school. Netflix

The later is featured in the documentary series Tiger King, which is streaming on Netflix. Exotic speaks emotionally about how the suicide attempt changed his life and brought him into the world of animals. But the series completely skips over the fact that Exotic, somehow, found his way into the legal sphere before committing an incredible slue of crimes himself.

Exotic touches on his time as a cop in a documentary called Louis Theroux Meets America's Dangerous Pets. The conversation sparks when Exotic claims he'd euthanize all of his animals before allowing them to go to a second park if he ever went broke.

Theroux wonders when Exotic grew to think this way, and the park owner claimed he always has: even when he was a cop.

Theroux responds: "You must have been a pretty weird cop."

Exotic echoes the remark. "I was a weird cop."

Other details of Exotic's time as a governmental leader are unknown. The only thing that's certain is the former wildlife park owner has strayed a long way from loving the law.

Exotic is currently serving up to 22 years in prison for trying to hire someone to kill his rival, a tiger advocate named Carole Baskin. Contributing to his sentence are some animal abuse charges, too, which violated parts of the Endangered Species Act.

In Tiger King, Exotic claims to look at his old wildlife park as its own entity, and even implied he'd open fire if police ever tried to dictate his behavior. The park is no longer owned by Exotic. A change of ownership happened before he even went to prison when his business partner, Jeff Lowe, took over.