After more than 15 hours of deliberating between Nov. 1 and Nov. 6, Hillsville Town Council has decided to hire Greg Bolen as police chief of the Hillsville Police Department.
Bolen, who has approximately 15 years of experience in the law enforcement field, will officially begin his duties Dec. 1. Hillsville Mayor Greg Crowder said Town Council approved Bolen’s hire by a 3-2 vote with Councilmen Ed Terry and Greg Yonce casting the no votes. As Mayor, Crowder cast the tiebreaking vote. Two meetings, the first on Nov. 1 and the other on Nov. 6, totaled about 15 hours before a final decision was made.
Crowder said Bolen brings outstanding qualities to the position, which has been filled by Interim Police Chief Jason Hawks since former Chief Steve Williams resigned his post June 29.
“For me, it would have to be his leadership capabilities,” Crowder said of why Bolen was hired. “He brings strong leadership and the independent council we brought in to help us with the candidates…he was rated No. 1 by them.”
Crowder said the independent council recommended four finalists out of 25 eligible applicants. Of those four, he said one was eliminated due to the fact that he couldn’t make his residence in Hillsville, while another was just not as strong a candidate as the other two. At that point, Crowder said “it was pretty close given that one of them was a current Town Police.” So Crowder said he strongly encouraged final interviews in a “no-holds barred, leave-everything-on-the-table session.”
“At the end of the meeting, we wanted a vote and asked for a vote. Some said they weren’t ready to make a decision, but as far as I was concerned and the rest of the council was concerned, we were ready to put an end to this long process,” Crowder said. “We felt like we had been presented more than enough information and a decision was probably overdue by this point, to be honest.”
Bolen left the Hillsville Police Department approximately five years ago. At that time, he held the rank of Lieutentant, second in command under then-Chief Williams. Interim Police Chief Hawks’ role in the Town Department will be up to Bolen, Crowder said.
“Most chiefs evaluate the entire department when they come in and that is what I suspect Greg will do,” Crowder said.
The Mayor said the Council looked at several factors in considering applicants for Police Chief, including credit checks, criminal background checks, and eligibility for employment with the Town.
“We also contacted all former employers and basically tried to chase down any rumors as we found most candidates had a bump in the road somewhere along the way,” Crowder said. “We had 25 applicants that were eligible and at the end of the day we came back with the best candidate in my view, and the two councilmen thought the same thing. I’m happy for Greg. There are some changes that need to be made, nothing drastic, but changes do need to be made, and we felt like he was the best man to go forward with that goal.”