A former police chief has a new prosthetic arm, and he wants his old job back — but his town disagrees

A Pennsylvania police chief says he is considering a lawsuit after the mayor of his town barred him from returning to work with a prosthetic arm, citing unspecified “legal concerns.”

Leechburg Police Chief Michael Diebold lost his hand and part of his arm in a fireworks accident over the summer. Since the June accident, Diebold has received a prosthetic limb — and he’s worked to earn his right to return to work with the police department, getting all necessary letters and certifications from the District Attorney’s office, the state of Pennsylvania and a clean bill of health from his doctor in the UPMC system.

He says there was an understanding between him, the office of Leechburg Mayor Wayne Dobos, and the town council that he’d return to work once he was cleared.

“I can do anything,” Diebold says. “There’s nothing physically now that I cannot do that I could not do before.”

Yet the day he was supposed to return to work, he didn’t. Before his shift, the mayor’s office called him while he was Christmas shopping with his wife and infant son and told him not to come in, he told CBS Pittsburgh. With less than a month until Christmas, he is on unpaid leave until further notice.

“Nobody will give me any explanation, any documentation, any reason… You don’t know financially what you can and can’t do now. I can honestly say this is the most despicable thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”

CBS Pittsburgh contacted the mayor’s office and asked for a comment. They say Mayor Dobos refused to answer questions, reading a statement:

“Myself and all of the town council wish the chief a speedy return. It’s now in the hands of our lawyers.”

RELATED: Learn about the "Dr. Dolittle" of animal prosthetics: 

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The 'Dr. Doolittle' of animal prosthetics
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The 'Dr. Doolittle' of animal prosthetics

Derrick Campana kneels beside Angel Marie, a three-legged mini horse who wears a prosthetic leg made by Campana, at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Derrick Campana holds the prosthetic paw he made for Kenna, a three-year-old golden retriever born without a front paw, at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Angel Marie, a three-legged mini horse who wears a prosthetic leg made by Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care, looks up from her feeding bowl during a visit with Campana in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Various molds for animal prosthetics made by Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care sit upon a shelf at their facility in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Derrick Campana holds the mold for a prosthetic leg he made for a Thai elephant who lost a limb to a landmine at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

The prosthetic leg made by Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care for Angel Marie, a three-legged mini horse, sits atop a bale of hay in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care (L) gets assistance as he works to find a solution for Beauty, a goat who cannot stand on her permanently damaged legs, in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Hudson, a pitbull mix with an amputated paw, wears a prosthetic paw made by Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care (L) works to find a solution for Beauty, a goat who cannot stand on her permanently damaged legs, in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Owner Lennie Green of Industry Maine puts a prosthetic leg made by Derrick Campana on Angel Marie, a three-legged mini horse, during a visit to Campana at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Derrick Campana holds the mold for a prosthetic leg he made for a Thai elephant who lost a limb to a landmine at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

The prosthetic leg made by Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care for Angel Marie, a three-legged mini horse, sits atop a bale of hay in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Derrick Campana kneels beside Angel Marie, a three-legged mini horse who wears a prosthetic leg made by Campana, at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Hudson, a pitbull mix with an amputated paw, wears a prosthetic paw made by Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017. 

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Kenna, a three-year-old golden retriever born without a front paw, wears a prosthetic paw made by Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., March 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

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