Promotion announcement - commander, special operations

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Tue, 10/13/2020 - 2:16pm -- Denise Sortor

Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police, is pleased to announce the following promotion: Lt. David Petersen, commander of professional standards at Headquarters, to captain/special operations commander at Headquarters.

Capt. Petersen has served the people of Vermont since 2001, when he began his career as a trooper at the St. Johnsbury Barracks. He was promoted to sergeant/patrol commander in St. Johnsbury in February 2010, before transferring three years later to the position of detective sergeant, also in St. Johnsbury. In March 2017, he was promoted to lieutenant and professional standards commander at Headquarters.

In addition to these duties, Capt. Petersen has been a member of the Vermont State Police Bomb Squad since 2007, serving as its commander since June 2014. He is a certified bomb technician and has acted as an instructor of courses related to explosives.

The Special Operations Commander oversees the Vermont State Police’s 14 special teams, which include the Bomb Squad, Crash Reconstruction Team, Crisis Negotiation Unit, Honor Guard, Tactical Services Unit and more. The commander also assists and supervises responses to critical incidents such as hostage situations or bomb threats, and helps in preparation and planning for major events such as World Cup ski races or visits to Vermont by dignitaries. The commander also supervises the Emergency Services, Recreation Enforcement and Traffic Safety units, special teams memberships and the K-9 program. The commander serves as a liaison with partners across all levels of law enforcement and other stakeholders in public safety throughout Vermont.

Capt. Petersen’s predecessor is Capt. Michael Manley, who has been named the new Administrative Services Commander. Capt. Petersen can be reached at Headquarters at 802-244-8727 or The effective date of the promotion was Oct. 11, 2020.

To find out more about Special Operations, visit