updated 3/22/2010 6:31:18 PM ET 2010-03-22T22:31:18

An on-duty Colorado state trooper was arrested Monday on suspicion of driving drunk in a marked patrol car while in uniform and carrying a gun, authorities said.

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David Dolan, 48, was arrested by Douglas County deputies about 7 a.m. on Colorado 470, a beltway around southwest Denver, the Sheriff’s Department said.

He was booked on charges of driving under the influence and prohibited use of weapons. Colorado law makes it illegal for anyone to have a firearm while intoxicated.

Dolan was placed on unpaid leave and an internal investigation was under way, said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol.

Dolan was on his way from his home station in Colorado Springs to the State Patrol training academy in the west Denver suburb of Golden, said Wolfinbarger, who didn’t know what business Dolan had at the academy.

A woman who answered the phone at a Colorado Springs number listed for Dolan declined to comment and hung up.

Video of Dolan’s arrest was captured by a television station helicopter. It showed deputies putting handcuffs on him and placing him in the back of a patrol vehicle.

“Images like that tarnish our badges,” Wolfinbarger said, adding that he was devastated by the arrest.

Dolan is a 21-year veteran of the State Patrol. Wolfinbarger declined to say whether Dolan had been commended or disciplined in the past, citing privacy rules.

Asked if Dolan might be suffering from post-traumatic stress or other consequences of job stress, Wolfinbarger said, “This is a very difficult job. ... There are clearly years of accumulated stress.” He didn’t elaborate.

Dolan was arrested after several people reported a State Patrol car driving erratically on northbound Interstate 25 near Castle Rock, about 25 miles south of Denver.

Sheriff’s dispatchers transferred the calls to the State Patrol, and a few minutes later the patrol asked the Sheriff’s Department to help locate the car and check on the driver.

Wolfinbarger thanked the drivers who called 911.

“That helped keep a very bad situation from turning tragic,” he said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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