Arrest Of Chelsea Businessman Creates Tension Between City, Police
CHELSEA, Oklahoma - Officers in a small Oklahoma town said they're getting threats for doing the right thing.
They said a local businessman, arrested for DUI, made a few calls to city leaders in hopes of getting out of the ticket and staying out of jail.
One call went to the town administrator and at a Tuesday night meeting the administrator and officer's future employment with the city was discussed.
The final vote was to keep the town administrator in his position and to put off voting on the officer's future with the department until the next meeting.
The whole controversy started when an officer pulled over a businessman.
Video shows businessman Brian Hagard ask the officer for a favor.
“If you would give me a free pass tonight I would please appreciate it,” he said.
Hagard owns a construction and excavation company in Chelsea.
The officer, Nicholas Pappe, is new to the police department and pulled Hagard over for a suspected DUI.
“Good evening sir, do you know why I pulled you over,” he asked Hagard, video shows.
At some point during the stop, Hagard made a phone call to Town Administrator, Kenny Weast, who shows up on the scene.
“Yes I spoke to the chief and the police commissioner and all that," Pappe said.
"I can't take him home,” Weast asked the officer.
“No sir, he blew over the legal limit,” Pappe explained.
Assistant Chief of police Travis Hogan stands by his officer who stood his ground, even when Weast showed up.
"It's a very, very, good stop the officer made. He's a rookie officer and he made a good stop,” said Hogan.
Tuesday night the town board reviewed the dash cam video and voted to keep the town administrator in his position.
The crowd roared, and police officers were shocked.
"They hired us to do a job and we took an oath to do a job, and that job we did, and he did a great job at it. We were definitely put in our place,” Hogan said.
He said when his officer took Hagard to jail he threatened the officers job, and now that job seems to be in the hands of Weast.
"He has hire/fire power over the police department and he tried to interfere in one of our arrests, and they awarded him for it,” said Hogan.
Pappe's future employment with the city will be discussed in a meeting next week.
The assistant chief said the situation has made for a hostile work environment between the police department and the city.
Neighbors say Weast and Hagard are business partners and own a bar north of Chelsea.
We tried to talk to Weast, but he rushed out of the meeting and said he had no comment.