MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

October 10, 2013

Chief of Oklahoma Highway Patrol to retire

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol announced his retirement Thursday after serving more than three decades in law enforcement.

Col. Kerry Pettingill said he’ll step down Feb. 1, 2014, after serving for three years at the helm. Pettingill started off as a trooper with the highway patrol and worked his way up to chief.

“When I started out as a trooper in 1982, I had no thoughts or aspirations of being anything other than a trooper, but I’ve had tremendous opportunities in my tenure with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol,” Pettingill said. “I was just a kid from Mangum, Oklahoma, that wanted to be in law enforcement.”

Pettingill has also served as director of the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security and as commander of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s bomb squad.

The highway patrol said Pettingill also expanded the state public safety radio system — going from a 12-tower system with 10,000 radios to a 42-tower system with more than 25,000 radios. The $70 million expansion project is still ongoing.

He’s also credited with expanding the state’s bomb squad from a part-time assignment to full-time.

“Chief Pettingill has left an indelible mark on all of us, and is largely responsible for the success of the OHP Bomb Squad and establishing Oklahoma’s Office of Homeland Security,” said Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael C. Thompson. “As the 25th chief of the patrol, Pettingill has led with integrity, honor and a spirit of selfless service.”

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