A former Oklahoma cop who is facing a felony aggravated assault charge in Sevier County after pointing a gun and threatening two people in the parking lot of the Tortas El Guero restaurant at 209 W. Collin Raye Dr. in De Queen last October, was hired earlier this month by the Broken Bow Police Department, worked two weeks, and then was asked to resign after multiple news stories broke in McCurtain and Sevier Counties stating he was still facing charges.
Kolton Loving, 26, who is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on July 3 in Sevier County for the felony charge, and has a trial date of July 31, resigned from the Broken Bow Police Department on Monday, according to the McCurtain County Gazette. Both the Gazette and dequeenbee.com published stories about Loving’s hiring as a police officer in Broken Bow.
The Gazette reported that Broken Bow Police Chief Richard Wiggins told them Loving had been suspended immediately on Saturday following the publication of the stories.
“After a discussion with the police chief on Monday morning, Loving’s resignation was requested,” the Gazette reported.
“I allowed him to resign,” Wiggins is reported to have told the Gazette. “The point is, a police officer cannot enforce laws while facing criminal charges.”
The Gazette reported that Loving was hired due to a miscommunication between Loving and his legal counsel, who is said to have informed Loving that the charge had been dropped, despite it not being true.
According to the Gazette, Loving’s attorney called Broken Bow police on Saturday and apologized for the miscommunication, saying that he had “jumped the gun.” Wiggins said that he felt Loving himself believed the charge had been dismissed when he applied for a position at Broken Bow.
Wiggins told the Gazette that in the future, the department would determine the status of any applicant’s recent legal issues “in-house” should a similar situation arise.
Loving has worked for multiple law enforcement agencies in McCurtain County, including Broken Bow, Idabel, Valliant and the sheriff’s department. He had been fired from Broken Bow police in the past, Wiggins acknowledged.
Loving was also fired from the Valliant Police Department after the October 2018 incident and faced disciplinary action from the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Department in July 2017 after he allegedly fired his handgun at a woman who had stolen his police vehicle.
Wiggins told the Gazette that filling the roster with qualified and certified police officers has become more difficult, which is why, despite the previous terminations and other incidents, Loving’s application was accepted.
“Nationwide, there’s a 63 percent decline in police applicants,” Wiggins said. “We are short-handed and we knew he was qualified and certified.”
Wiggins said on a department that ideally should have 14 officers (including the police chief), Broken Bow currently has only 11. Two of those, Wiggins said, are currently out with injuries received on duty.