Charleston Police Chief Hank Hayden announced his plan to retire at the Charleston City Commission meeting Tuesday night.
His last day will be Monday, Feb. 17.
“I’ve spent 30 years in Chattanooga, and 10 years here and it is time for me to go,” Hayden said.
He took the opportunity to offer a suggestion for his position following his announcement. Although the applicant’s name was not mentioned, Hayden said he is currently serving with Bradley County Fire-Rescue.
“Charleston has been good to me,” Hayden said, “And I am a part of Charleston.”
Melvin Graham of the street department gave an update on the city park playground.
He said all of the playground equipment has been installed. A final check for compliance is in need before the project is officially complete. Mayor Walter Goode and commissioners Donna McDermott and Frankie McCartney agreed to dedicate the park this spring.
The Commission advised children and teenagers to leave the playground mulch alone. According to several reports, area youth have repeatedly engaged in throwing the mulch.
Goode said he did not believe a sign would do much to deter the behavior.
“Teenagers are usually there without parents. So if you see somebody, tell them to stop,” Goode said. “This is our park. It is not the city of Charleston’s, it is our park. If you see someone destroying the equipment, say something.”
Additional discussion on the city park included the purchase of new basketball posts and goals. Goode expressed an interest in having the new pieces in before the summer months. Graham said the city and street department are in the process of comparing prices at several different stores.
Graham also mentioned the possibility of pouring a small pad closer to Worth Street for children interested in basketball. A shorter hoop and post would be placed on the pad for the smaller kids.
Added Goode, “Just as long as we don’t forget the little ones.”
Seventeen-year-old Sarah Beth Locke was present to request the Commission’s permission to post signs for a local Neighborhood Watch. The signs would be placed in a square with one on Market, Broadway, Water and Wool streets. Each will read, “WARNING All Suspicious Activity Will Be Reported To Bradley County Sheriff’s Office,” with the phone number for BCSO.
Locke said her interest in the Neighborhood Watch was sparked by local crime.
“We had some break-ins at the Charleston Elementary School. I’m pretty sure they stole some iPads. They broke in two or three times before they were caught,” Locke said. “They were actually caught by a local calling in some suspicious activity.”
The two block commanders will be Audrey Moore and Beth McCartney. There are currently 50 residents within the watch’s limits.
Locke assured the watch’s job is to report crimes. She did not believe there would be members out to make citizen arrests.
Additional information discussed included:
- The Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society’s next meeting is Sunday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Hiwassee Heritage Center in Charleston.
- Bradley County Fire-Rescue Chief Troy Maney reported 15 calls for December in Charleston. The calls included: two structures, three wrecks, one water call, five alarms, an EMS call, one investigation and one miscellaneous.
Maney also thanked Hayden for his work for Charleston and his help with the two recent structure fires in Charleston.