By Dan Elliot
The Associated Press
DENVER — An on-duty Colorado state trooper was pulled over Monday and accused of driving drunk after several people called 911 to report a State Patrol vehicle driving erratically, authorities said.
Video captured by a television station helicopter showed the arrest of 48-year-old David Dolan, who was in uniform. Sheriff's deputies put handcuffs on him and placed him in the back of a patrol vehicle.
"Images like that tarnish our badges," said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, adding that he was devastated by the arrest.
Dolan, who authorities say was carrying a gun, was booked on charges of driving under the influence and prohibited use of weapons. Colorado law makes it illegal for anyone to have a firearm while intoxicated.
The arrest happened about 7 a.m. on Colorado 470, a beltway around southwest Denver, the Douglas County Sheriff's Department said.
Dolan was placed on unpaid leave, and an internal investigation is under way, Wolfinbarger said.
Dolan was on his way from his home station in Colorado Springs to the State Patrol training academy in the west Denver suburb of Golden, Wolfinbarger said. He said he didn't know what business Dolan had at the academy.
A woman who answered the phone at a Colorado Springs number listed for Dolan declined to comment and hung up.
Dolan is a 21-year veteran of the State Patrol. Wolfinbarger declined to say whether Dolan had been commended or disciplined in the past, citing privacy rules.
Asked whether Dolan might be suffering from post-traumatic stress or other consequences of job stress, Wolfinbarger said, "This is a very difficult job.... There are clearly years of accumulated stress." He didn't elaborate.
After drivers called 911 to report the erratic patrol car, sheriff's dispatchers transferred the calls to the State Patrol. A few minutes later, the patrol asked the Sheriff's Department to help locate the car and check on the driver.
Wolfinbarger thanked the drivers who called 911.
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"That helped keep a very bad situation from turning tragic," he said.