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NOLANVILLE

Fire Chief in Bell County Speaks Out After Arrest

By: Stephanie Jacksis

NOLANVILLE - The Central Bell County Fire Chief was working again Thursday.  He was arrested during a traffic stop last week, which led to an investigation concerning his criminal background.

"I was upset when it happened," Chief James Potter said.  "Everybody's got hiccups in life, and mine just happened when I became the chief.  It caused the department a black eye, but it's something to drive forward from, to learn from and keep going."

Chief Potter spent three days in the Bell County Jail last week, but now he's back to firefighting.

The fire department's board decided to reinstate Chief James Potter, but they put him on a 60 days probation.

"It's gonna be time for it to clear up," Assistant Fire Chief Jason Worsdale said.  "Just time for everything, all the dust to settle so to speak." 

Chief Potter was accused of tampering with government records.  He said he made a photocopy of his license, because he doesn't always carry his wallet with him.  That way, if he is pulled over, he'll remember his driver's license number. 

He was also accused of driving without a valid license.  But Chief Potter says that was a misunderstanding, the result of police departments not having an updated system.

"That's a mix up from a long time ago," Chief Potter said.  "In 2003, it was suspended for like 2 months, and it was reinstated after that.  It wasn't a DWI or a DUI, it was a seatbelt ticket and a red light ticket, and I pad the $600 fine and my license has been good since then."

His arrest uncovered four felony charges in Montgomery County, TN, including one for forging prescriptions and one for intent to sell.

"It was all dismissed and clarified in court," Potter said.  "The nurse signed the doctor's name for the prescription instead of him signing it himself."

All charges are set to be dismissed June 2013, but if Potter is found guilty in Bell County, he could face more charges in Tennessee.

 

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