Sylva stays in-house for new police chief

Davis Woodard, a veteran law enforcement officer in Jackson County, has been selected as Sylva’s new police chief.

He replaces longtime Police Chief Jeff Jamison, who retired Oct. 1.

Sylva Town Manager Adrienne Isenhower selected Woodard, with the help of town Commissioner Christina Matheson and Sylva business owner R.O. Vance. The formation of a selection panel had been a source of strife among commissioners. Three — Harold Hensley, Ray Lewis and Danny Allen — objected when Isenhower, early on in the process, proposed using outside assistance to make her selection.

Hiring choices and day-to-day management of town affairs usually fall to the manager. But, a town ordinance mandating commissioners should select the police chief confused matters. This is the first time since Sylva went to the town-manager style of government eight years ago that the police chief position had opened up.

Woodard, however, was an easy choice for everyone, Isenhower said. He went to Sylva Webster High School, served in the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office from 1987-89, when he joined the Sylva Police Department. Woodard, who could not be reached for comment before press time, was recently promoted to lieutenant.

“He just fit what we were looking for,” Isenhower said Tuesday, adding that when the panel ranked their top three candidates, Woodard surfaced as the top pick for all involved.

A salary amount is still being decided.

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