Camden officer pleads guilty to offense while in Maryland

CAMDEN – A Camden Police officer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor misconduct in office last week regarding his earlier stint as police chief in Greensboro, Maryland.

In November 2019, Lt. Michael Petyo was placed on paid administrative leave in Camden as Maryland authorities investigated his handling of a job candidate’s certification application there. Lt. Petyo was Greensboro’s police chief when ex-Dover officer Thomas W. Webster IV was hired in 2018.

Following a plea in Maryland Friday, Lt. Petyo was sentenced to two years’ incarceration, all suspended, along with three years’ supervised probation. Judge Paul M. Bowman issued the order, according to a news release.

Camden Police initiated an internal investigation following a misconduct charge filed against Lt. Petyo in Maryland. Camden town offices were closed Monday and attempts to reach Chief Marcus Whitney for any possible status update were unsuccessful.

Mr. Webster received provisional certification to join Greensboro PD in January 2018 and granted full powers in May. He’s not currently listed as a police department officer on Greensboro’s official town website.

Lt. Petyo left Greensboro and joined Camden Police in January 2019.

In a news release, the Maryland state prosecutor’s office said Mr. Petyo pleaded guilty “for making factual misrepresentations in an Application for Certification, which he filed on behalf of one of his police officers.”

Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton Howard said “Honest and thorough reporting to the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission is an essential responsibility of police chiefs throughout the State of Maryland to ensure that individuals who apply for certification, and are consequently employed as law enforcement officers, are properly screened and evaluated.

“I commend the investigators and attorneys at the Office of the State Prosecutor for their outstanding work on this case.”

An Application for Certification is filed with the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission to certify police officers throughout the state of Maryland, the news release said. All officers must be officially certified to work.

A Statement of Facts read at the guilty plea said that then-Greensboro Police Chief Petyo, “submitted an Application of Certification on behalf of Thomas Webster to the Commission for certification as a Greensboro police officer.

“In his submission, Petyo made several intentional misrepresentations and factual omissions to the Commission.”

The Office of State Prosecutor thanked Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission and the Delaware Department of Justice for assisting in the case.

The case reportedly involved 29 use of force reports involving Mr. Webster’s time with Dover Police supposedly not submitted to Maryland officials during the certification process.