Andy Slagle has been chosen as the first police chief in the Town of Unicoi. (Contributed photo)

From Staff Reports

The Town of Unicoi welcomed Andy Slagle as its first police chief on Friday, Oct. 11, at the town’s 25th Anniversary Celebration which was held at the Visitor Center off Exit 32 in Unicoi. 

Mayor Johnny Lynch unveiled the new police cruiser and swore-in Slagle before reminding residents that the chief will be working closely with Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley in a continued effort to serve the community’s safety needs in a quick and effective manner. The new chief will be focused on code enforcement while the sheriff’s deputies will continue to provide around-the-clock coverage to this area of the county. 

“We’ve been working toward this goal for more than 10 years,” Lynch said. “I’m proud to see it finally taking shape, and knowing that we can now put some teeth behind our codes is a huge relief. That’s not something the sheriff’s office can provide, so it was important we step up to the plate and do our part too.” 

Slagle spent eight years in the Army National Guard and has more than 12 years of law enforcement experience, most of which was spent with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department. He was even assigned directly to the Town of Unicoi when the sheriff’s department operated a substation out of the Unicoi Town Hall. Slagle was recognized as the Tennessee DUI Officer of the Year and received the Governor’s Highway Safety Traffic Officer designation in 2011. He resides with his wife and three children in Erwin and is actively involved in various community organizations. 

“I’m thrilled for the challenge in front of me,” said Slagle. “I love this community and I’m honored to have been chosen not only to protect it, but to help create a structured program for code enforcement, event security, traffic control, and overall growth for the town.” 

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The new chief received a warm welcome from more than 200 in attendance at the celebration. Guests enjoyed free hotdogs, chips and drinks served by the Unicoi Ruritan, as well as live music performed by the Monday Night Cabin Pickers, the Shelton duo Windy and Warm, and headliner Spivey Mountain Boys. 

“I’m continually blown away by my neighbors here in Unicoi,” said Communications and Programs Director Ashley Shelton. “The multitude of talent in the area and the strong volunteer spirit within this tight-knit community is just amazing. That’s what makes these events so much fun for everyone, it’s like a family picnic.” 

Plenty of activities were available for the younger citizens including face painting, fire truck tours and a bounce house. 

Attendees also had the opportunity to tour the Mountain Harvest Kitchen, Unicoi’s food-business incubator, and shop the Tanasi Art Gallery inside the Visitor’s Center. 

The celebration ended with a fireworks display that lit up the sky in honor of the town’s 25 years of growth and success. 

The Town of Unicoi extends special thanks to the Unicoi Ruritan, Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department, Unaka Mountain Search and Rescue, Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Forest Service, Unicoi History Group and the Unicoi Business Alliance for helping make this momentous celebration possible. Additional thanks to event sponsors, Food City and Food Lion, and the many volunteers that make these types of events so special. 

For more information on the Town of Unicoi or its upcoming events, contact Ashley Shelton at

470-0204 or email communicationsandprograms@unicoitn.net.