Officers there responded to a call of an alligator. It was lurking in the weeds near a pond in a residential area.
A resident of a subdivision near the pond called police Saturday evening to report that his children spotted the alligator while they were playing in some nearby woods.
After consulting a conservation agent, who told them to kill the gator if they felt it posed a danger, one of the officers shot it twice in the head before realizing something was up, said a Independence police spokesman.
The alligator wasn't real. It took two shots for them to realize that the gator was made of concrete.
"It didn't move," said the police spokesman. "They inched up closer and closer and discovered it was a mock-up of a real alligator made to look like it was real."
The property owner told police he put it there to keep people off his property. Officers told him a no-trespassing sign would have been wiser.
In the officers' defense, it was growing dark when they shot the fake gator and it was partially submerged in the weeds.
The conservation agent said the department has received calls in the past about alligators that had been set free in populated areas, so there was no reason to believe the Saturday sighting wasn't valid.
The Associated Press contributed to this story