New Colbert police chief hired despite arrest record

Published: Sep. 11, 2017 at 5:52 PM CDT
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The City of Colbert hired their fourth interim police chief of the year earlier this month. David Petersen told us he used to be a deputy at the Pushmataha County sheriff's office, so we did some digging.

It turns out, Petersen was fired from the Pushmataha County Sheriff's office in October 2016.

His termination paper states Petersen used the county vehicle for personal use and gave rides to people who didn't work for the county.

But OHP said Petersen was found to be at fault and cited for a serious crash involving an Antlers police car just days before he was fired.

They tell us Petersen was responding to a call in his personal truck; Antlers police did not know that and pursued the speeding truck.

The officer chasing Petersen crashed.

"We lost a unit,” Dewayne Morgan said. “An officer could have been injured seriously thank god he wasn't. And car totaled."

Morgan was Antlers Chief of Police at the time.

“In my opinion he should have stopped. And told that the officer he was going to back somebody else up. That would’ve only taken a few seconds and they would’ve let him go,” Morgan said.

Morgan also said he did not think the call, which he believed to be a request for assistance with a “creepy clown” complaint, warranted speeding through town.

But that’s not all.

A court affidavit from 2011 shows Petersen was arrested for embezzlement after admitting to taking a laptop, toys, and food from the Walmart where he worked.

The case was later dismissed.

Petersen was also charged in January with forging a Julian Lumber Company employee's signature to get about $50 worth of gas.

Owner Derek Porter said he dropped the charges against Petersen because Petersen paid back the money and did community service.

"People have forgiven me for mistakes that I've made before,” Porter said. “I've learned some skills from those mistakes as well. I think with the proper leadership and guidance and if they'll work and train David in the new position they've placed him for interim police chief I believe he can do a good job for the community."

We caught up with Petersen at City Hall on Monday. He said he could not talk on camera due to city policy but told us the incidents were all misunderstandings, and he has never been convicted.

We asked Morgan how he felt about Petersen's new job.

"No comment,” Morgan said. “That's Colbert's problem. Not mine."

We also reached out to Colbert city spokesperson Jerry Harrell but have not heard back.