Hayden is honored; police chief named
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Feb 13, 2014 | 1473 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CHARLESTON MAYOR Walter Goode, left, presented a plaque to Charleston Chief of Police Hank Hayden in honor of his 10 years of service. Hayden’s last day will be Feb. 17. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
CHARLESTON MAYOR Walter Goode, left, presented a plaque to Charleston Chief of Police Hank Hayden in honor of his 10 years of service. Hayden’s last day will be Feb. 17. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
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Like every other government jurisdiction in Southeast Tennessee, the Charleston City Commission on Tuesday night had its eyes to the sky and salt on the trucks in preparation for forecasts of potentially heavy snow.

Their preparation paid off, as evidenced by the layer of white that blanketed their town, and all of Bradley County, over the past 24 hours.

But before the weather blew in, commissioners heard reports during a formal monthly session that the salt trucks were ready.

Street Department head Melvin Graham reported the storeroom had three tons of salt and two tons of sand. Both were to be used if the forecast looked to be materializing. It did. And the Street Department responded.

At Tuesday’s commission gathering, Mayor Walter Goode requested that Graham look into a vehicle capable of spreading salt and sand, in addition to moving snow off of the road.

City Manager Caroline Geren thanked Graham for his speedy response during the last snowfall in the city.

She said she heard a weird sound that night outside her window around 10 p.m.

“I thought, ‘What is that sound?’” Geren said. “And I saw Melvin with the city tractor laying out that salt.”

Goode pointed out Charleston local Dennis Wood performed a number of Good Samaritan tasks during the last snow day. He checked on older residents after loading his truck bed down with cement blocks.

Added Goode, “We have good folks still around.”

Police Chief Hank Hayden presented his last police department report at Tuesday night’s meeting. His last day on the force will be Feb. 17. Johnny Stokes is set to succeed Hayden in the role on Feb. 18.

Hayden shared several words of thanks and offered a special word to Geren for letting him keep his car and gas card.

Geren replied with a shake of her head, “Dreaming, dreaming.”

Added the city manager to much laughter, “I want to see those keys in my hand after this meeting.”

Hayden said he has already heard from two other police department interested in having him come on board.

“I told them, I wouldn’t be leaving here, if I wanted a job,” Hayden assured the city commission.

Goode presented Hayden with a plaque for his 10 years of service to the city. The mayor told the small crowd how he initially asked Hayden to take the position. He said Hayden was sitting by the Hiwassee River during a community activity on Arbor Day.

“He looked at me for a minute there and said, ‘Well, let me get back to you.’ That is just [Hayden],” Goode said. “As far as his qualifications, I think he was the most qualified chief we have had here.”

Continued Goode, “We have had some good chiefs. They were good guys, but this guy right here had all of the stuff in [his] background. We thank you as a city for what you have done for us. The strength you have built up in the police department.”

Stokes, who will also be working with the Bradley Fire and Rescue, boasted of his Charleston roots. He said he always thought he would end up in the Charleston Police Department.