Sizing the force: Sylva debates police staffing needs

Sarah Dearmon was the only person who spoke during the May 27 public hearing for a proposed Sylva town budget  that calls for an 18 percent increase over the general fund from 2020-21. But her comments directly addressed the main debate board members and town citizens have grappled with during this year’s budget process. 

Sylva ponders tax increase

Sales tax receipts are booming in Sylva and a newly completed property revaluation will bump real estate values by about 14.5 percent this year — if tax rates stay the same, the town would expect to receive $345,000 more in the coming fiscal year than in the current year’s budget.

Sylva police arrest suspected drug trafficker

A Georgia resident suspected of supplying illegal drugs to the local community was arrested last week after a Sylva Police Department officer stopped his vehicle for traffic violations.

State report calls for greater police transparency

task force founded by Gov. Roy Cooper in the wake of violent protests after the police killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd last summer makes dozens of recommendations to strengthen and support North Carolina’s law enforcement community, including several that would lead to greater transparency by law enforcement agencies. 

County will assume Clyde PD duties

A request by the Town of Clyde to disband its police force and contract with the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office for policing services was approved by Haywood County commissioners Sept. 8.

Law enforcement training — a constant job interview

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | In light of the recent national uproar over police brutality, law enforcement training has rocketed to the forefront of public discussion. It’s a complicated topic; not merely for the politically charged rhetoric it now commonly evokes, but also because approaches to training new officers vary widely from state to state, county to county and agency to agency. It’s a convoluted process and made more difficult to grasp still when you factor in how agencies emphasize different aspects of training on even a personal basis. 

Protests were peaceful, but traffic caused problems

It was a long day, but July 11 was a success from the perspective of law enforcement, said Police Chief Chris Hatton. 

Waynesville protest march concludes peacefully

A group of almost 100 demonstrators hoping to draw attention to racial injustice marched through Waynesville on the night of June 1, but unlike protests in other parts of the country and the state, this one ended peacefully, with no arrests or injuries to marchers, onlookers or first responders. 

The next challenge: Hatton takes the reins at Sylva Police Department

Sylva’s newest police chief was looking for the little town in Jackson County before he knew it existed. 

“I didn’t want to work for a big huge agency where you don’t know your officers’ names,” said Chief Chris Hatton. “I also didn’t want to go somewhere we were dealing with violent crime every day, every day a shooting or a robbery. I’ve done that. I didn’t want to do it again. Truthfully, I was looking for Sylva for two years. I didn’t know that then, but I was looking for a place where you can live a good life and be surrounded by good people.”

Answers still wanted in Bryson City K9 death

It’s been several months since a young police K9, Kanon, died while in the possession of a Bryson City Police Department employee, but the local community and the nonprofit organization that donated the Dutch shepherd are still seeking answers to what really happened. 

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