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Creation of new police force stalls

The creation of a new police/enforcement department in the town of Unicoi is no longer viewed as urgent by town officials following an announcement made on Monday, Nov. 16, during the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. All members of the BMA were in attendance on Monday.
“Sheriff Mike Hensley has gone to a four-man shift,” Sgt. Nick Hughes, with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department said during the meeting. “An officer will be assigned to the town 24/7.”
Hughes also said that a current officer is finishing up his time at the police academy. When the officer completes the training in approximately two weeks, he will be added to the rotation of officers stationed in the town.
With four different shifts, an officer will be on patrol in Unicoi and will report to Hughes regarding any concerns in the town, he told those in attendance at the meeting.
Mayor Johnny Lynch commended Hughes’s work and added the news will help ease the urgency of the town’s own department to enforce ordinances.
An addition of officers in the town could potentially lead to the call volume in the town going up, Hughes added.
He said the department received 258 calls last month between two officers.
Hughes also said that more than 30 arrests were made last month with the majority coming from shoplifters at Wal-Mart in Unicoi and roughly 12-15 being classified as arrests when the department transports an inmate from Wiseman’s, near the city limits, and sends them into booking.
The town’s police committee will meet again sometime in the month of December.
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During the committee reports of the BMA, Lynch gave an update from the Economic Development Board to citizens about NN, Inc., who is currently in the process of looking to relocate to either Boones Creek in Washington County or stay within the county at the Swingle property, located within the county limits.
Lynch said the company is wanting the visibility from the interstate for the business and has settled on those two options and that the EDB will work to keep the business within the county.
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In other business, the BMA passed a resolution to sanction the 2015 Christmas Parade, which is set for Saturday, Nov. 28, between 2 to 3 p.m.
Unicoi Drive to Massachusetts Avenue will be closed during the time frame, except for the use of emergency vehicles.
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A resolution was approved during the new business portion of the meeting that allowed the town to donate a functionable heating and air system to the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center.
Lynch told the board that the center asked for assistance for the new woodworking shop. The town was able to give the donation, which will be a big help to the facility, according to Lynch, after the Town of Unicoi Visitor’s Center received a new system due to grant funding.
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Additional items discussed during Monday’s meeting included a personnel police workshop being tentatively set for Nov. 25 as the town looks to address cyber security for employees as they enter and leave their employment.
The town’s beer board also approved a beer permit for the Dollar General store in Unicoi and a revision to the town’s festival beer permit application.