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Sylva police chief to retire

Tammy Hooper Tammy Hooper

After 22 years with the Sylva Police Department and two years as its head, Sylva Police Chief Tammy Hooper will retire on Aug. 1, 2019. 

“Tammy has been a wonderful, dedicated, hardworking employee and a truly amazing chief of police. She’s had an excellent career,” said Town Manager Paige Dowling. 

Hooper joined the department on Sept. 15, 1997, and almost exactly 20 years later — Sept. 14, 2017 — she was sworn in as the first female police chief in the town’s history following the retirement of former chief Davis Woodard. 

“As Chief she has truly emphasized the importance of community policing to make Sylva a safer place,” said Dowling. “Chief Hooper has implemented a civilian police academy, daily officer daycare checks and the Walk for Hope (for breast cancer awareness). Sylva is fortunate Tammy chose to spend 22 years of her career in Sylva.”

The town is now searching for Hooper’s replacement, with applications accepted through noon on Friday, May 31.  The next chief will be “visionary” with “a demonstrated history of innovative and strategic leadership” and ability to “foster effective relationships” with community, law enforcement and governmental partners, according to the job posting. 

The police chief is in charge of budgeting, establishing policies and procedures for the department, recruiting and managing personnel, and overseeing departmental operations. 

The town is looking for someone with at least five years in command-level law enforcement service, a degree in criminal justice or a related field and advanced courses in police administration. 

The salary range will be $63,000 to $79,000, depending on experience and qualifications, with the next chief required to relocate to Jackson County within one year of hire. 

Sylva’s police department has a $1.3 million budget and 14 sworn law officers. The community includes about 2,800 residents “who expect community engagement and a high level of services,” the job ad says. The town sees a traffic volume of 32,000 vehicles per day. 

The full job posting is online at

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