NEW BEDFORD — A city police officer who has been under investigation since October for alleged violations of false information and improperly performing assigned duties was placed on administrative leave this week. The action comes after The Light filed several public records requests with the city in recent weeks regarding officer Vincent Peters’ alleged conduct.

The Light in late March requested a copy of the internal affairs investigation into Peters and its related records, but was denied, with the city saying the investigation was ongoing. NBPD records list the alleged violations being investigated, including “False information on record.”

Source: New Bedford Police Department

The Light this month filed several records requests with the city on Peters’ alleged conduct — including a motor vehicle accident involving him, as well as a call he responded to. The Light also inquired with the police department about alleged conduct with Peters involving firearms while he worked in the firearms division.

Police Chief Paul Oliveira did not respond to a request for comment or a list of questions by email about the allegations and the administrative leave. The Light learned of the administrative leave from a New Bedford police officer, and then confirmed it with Peters.

Peters was initially bypassed for hire by the department for submitting false information on his job application more than a decade ago, according to a record from the state Civil Service Commission. 


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He told The Light on Wednesday that he was placed on leave due to mistakes he has made.

“I made an error in a report,” Peters said. “I can explain those out and I think this is getting overextended … I’m surprised why I wasn’t just issued a suspension or something simple.”

Peters said he made an error in a report about what led to him handcuffing a person. He said he wrote that the person dropped or threw his bike down and started arguing with Peters, when it was Peters who took the individual’s bike and put it down — something also captured by video surveillance.

The Light earlier this month requested and is awaiting records from the city on the incident.

Peters said other officers in the department were mocking him upon viewing video of the incident, instead of informing him that there was a problem on his report so he could correct it. 


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“I made, apparently, a mistake on the report … and it's fine ... give me a suspension … I have no problem being honest,” Peters said. “That being said, you had other people who knew it was incorrect and did nothing about it; that’s what concerns me.”

Peters also said he was forced to work a double shift that day, was very tired, and that it’s not uncommon to make a “small” error on a report.

According to the state Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST), which reviews misconduct cases of police officers and has the authority to decertify them, “Untruthfulness is considered prohibited conduct, and is among the many reasons why an officer’s certification may be revoked,” a POST spokesperson said by email.

Per state law, “The commission shall, after a hearing, revoke an officer's certification if the commission finds by clear and convincing evidence that … the officer knowingly files a written police report containing a false statement or commits perjury.”

The Light asked POST if it received any materials within the past few months from NBPD regarding Peters, including an investigative report. A spokesperson said POST can “neither confirm nor deny the existence of a pending investigation, nor comment on any individual case that may be pending.”

According to the department’s rulebook regarding false information on records, “A member or employee shall not knowingly or willingly make false official reports or cause any false information to be entered in any books, reports or records.”

The Light also asked Peters about his alleged conduct while working in the department’s firearms division. He said he purchased four or five antique firearms while on personal time from a man who wanted to give them up, but the department couldn't take them, according to Peters. Asked why the department couldn’t take them, he said he didn’t know.

The Light inquired with a police spokesperson by email Wednesday afternoon about Peters’ statements on the firearms. The department did not respond.

“Mistakes were made. If they are serious, they are serious,” Peters said. “I feel like I’m targeted a lot ... ever since I got on, I’ve had many, many officers dislike me for who I am.”

In February of 2020, Peters was sworn in as a police officer after at least one previous failed attempt. 

In his application to be a police cadet with NBPD in 2011, Peters said he participated in football, track, baseball and JROTC as a sergeant major at New Bedford High School, according to a record from the Civil Service Commission.

“Mr. Peters was not a member of the football, track or baseball teams at New Bedford High School,” reads the state record. “There were no records of Mr. Peters being a member of the JROTC.”

Further, investigators found Peters falsely portrayed himself as an NBPD officer and a U.S. Marine on social media. On his application, he answered in the affirmative to questions of if he ever pretended to be a police officer or public servant, and if he had ever withheld information or lied on a job application.

Peters appealed the department’s decision in 2014, but the commission concluded the department was justified in its bypass of him.

Excerpt of 2015 decision from the state Civil Service Commission on Peters’ appeal.

According to officers, Peters’ past behavior was “still sufficiently close in time to remain a serious and disqualifying concern,” but that there is “no ‘forever’ ban” against him should he decide to reapply in the future, the record states.

Peters acknowledged he lied on his earlier application, and said he had lifelong aspirations to serve as a police officer and in the military (he’s a corporal in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, The Light confirmed).

Mayor Jon Mitchell declined comment after The Light asked several questions by email.

“This is a pending personnel matter, and the City will be declining comment, consistent with our standing policy,” a city spokesperson said.

Peters said he didn’t think his conduct was egregious enough to warrant losing his job.

Email Anastasia E. Lennon at alennon@petarenapro.com


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3 Comments

  1. Another great investigative article by NBL shining a light on the coverups with the NBPD. Hopefully, the city council will consider forcing the mayor to replace the police chief. Or is the mayor the real problem?

  2. Awesome job the LIGHT is doing I never believed that the police should police themselves cause it's that thin blue line gang that will do anything so that their shit don't stink ...it's not right not all but a lot which its way too many as far as I'm concerned

  3. “Peters said he made an error in a report about what led to him handcuffing a person. He said he wrote that the person dropped or threw his bike down and started arguing with Peters, when it was Peters who took the individual’s bike and put it down — something also captured by video surveillance.”

    Ahhh, good ol' Police corruption. Never changes.

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