Oklahoma ‘Good Ol’ Boys’ Threaten Honest Cops’ Jobs Over DUI Arrest

Chelsea, Oklahoma — a little town of 2,000 — seems pretty unremarkable. According to city-data.com, Chelsea is below Oklahoma’s averages in a number of ways — the value of its homes, the percentage of black, hispanic, and foreign-born amongst the population, the number of college students, the number of bachelor’s degrees.

But one way in which Chelsea excels, by comparison to Oklahoma or even much of the United States, is in its police department. It has honest cops. Part of the way we know this has to do with a police dashcam video.

One night, two months ago, Officer Nicholas Pappe made a DUI stop. The man he pulled over was Brian Haggard, a businessman with connections. Haggard, of course, begged for leniency but Pappe proceeded with the arrest. From there, the rest of the stop unfolded in a very unorthodox way.

First, assistant police chief Travis Hogan received a phone call. He told KTUL News:

“I was shocked when I received the phone call from the police commissioner. I thought he knew better than that. But for him to call me and ask me if I would allow him to leave his home to the traffic stop and pick that individual up and take him home in lieu of even a citation much less an arrest, I find that highly unethical.”

Next, a man showed up at the scene of the traffic stop, which was being recorded by the dash cam video. It was the city manager who wanted to know, “Did you talk to the chief?”

The city manager didn’t try to physically interfere with the arrest, but his intimidating presence remained. In the meantime, the arrestee, Brian Haggard, made his own pitch:

“If you would give me a free pass tonight, I would sure appreciate it.”

But the officer was a man doing his job, protecting the community from a drunk driver. The thanks that he and Assistant Chief Hogan have gotten is a community torn over the incident, plus the possibility of losing their jobs.

The conflict has gotten so bad that Hogan wrote a letter to the editor, addressing the people of Chelsea. In it, he says:

We’re human beings doing a job. Show some respect people.

Hogan also told KTUL that Haggard has been telling everyone in town that he’s going to get the police chief, the assistant chief, and Officer Pappe fired. The threat is given credence in the comments on KTUL’s written coverage, where the controversy rages on.

A reader with the handle #isupportthechelseapolice asked for other supportive citizens to attend a meeting of the town council next Tuesday night. He wrote:

All because this officer did his job protecting the public now his job and the Chief and Assistant Chief are rumored to be losing their job soon . This isn’t right people! This is terrible news for anyone that loves this little town like I do. So I’m asking those of you that want to help keep this little town safe and fight corruption to stand with me and support the Chelsea Police! The town meeting is next Tuesday night and these officers could really use as much support as possible. Please stand with me Tuesday and show the city of Chelsea that nobody is above the law and these officers shouldn’t be fired for doing the right thing!

This would seem to be a no-brainer — the police visibly doing the right thing rather than give in to the influence of corrupt officials. But, as Hogan says:

“We live in a good ol’ boy system here in this town.”

Most of the responses to the story have been overwhelmingly positive, but one of those good ol’ boys attempted a little unsubstantiated character assassination. His handle — @crazyokie — probably says it all. However, he also had to shoot off his mouth, insisting that Pappe isn’t in trouble for the DUI stop, but for other things like flirting with the girls at “the jiffy mart.” He went on with this:

U must support cops who abuse there power. I probably think it is ok to shoot people in the back as well.

Really, citizens of Chelsea, show up at the meeting on Tuesday night! You’ve got a whole lot of crazy to protect yourselves from.

Feature photo via pixabay.