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Tenn. Police Chief a Fugitive, He's Arrested After Background Check Uncovers 1989 Charge

CALHOUN, Tenn. (AP) - A homeland security background check for Calhoun's police chief revealed he was a wanted man.

Chris Nicholson, 36, was arrested at his Englewood home Thursday on a 1989 fugitive warrant from Pickens County, Ga., authorities said.

"We received a call from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement department that Chris Nicholson had applied for a database permit in connection with Homeland Security," said Richard Brogan, supervising agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

When federal authorities ran a background check, they discovered the old Georgia warrant.

"We called Pickens County and confirmed he was a fugitive from justice for a February 1989 burglary and that they still wanted him," Brogan said.

"This is news to me," Calhoun City Manager Joe Bryan said.

Nicholson was being held in the McMinn County Jail after waiving extradition to Georgia. He also is awaiting trial in Grundy County for a theft in 2000 while he was a police officer in Palmer.

Bryan said Nicholson was hired in 2001 as a police officer for Calhoun, about 30 miles east of Chattanooga, after passing a background check by former Chief Joe Petty.

Brogan said the 1989 Georgia warrant expired in the national crime computer before the background check occurred and was re-entered in 2002 after it was completed.

"Apparently this was the first background check done since then," Brogan said.

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