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Hillsville still dealing with chief's departure

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By Shaina Stockton

HILLSVILLE — One week after the Hillsville Police Chief Greg Bolen announced that he would be resigning from his position, effective the week of July 14, there are no definitive plans in place to hire a new chief to fill the vacancy.

Citing town politics and rumors about his possible firing as the reason behind his exit, Bolen turned in his notice on June 30 and took the slightly more than two weeks of vacation time he had built up.

On Monday, the department confirmed that Capt. James Alderman has taken on Bolen’s responsibilities as officers wait on a plan from Hillsville Town Council. The next scheduled council meeting is July 14, and there has been no comment from town officials about whether a special meeting will be called before then.

Members of council told The Gazette they were “shocked” by the news. The day after Bolen resigned, no one could say for sure why he’d made the decision.

After news of his resignation reached social media, Bolen contacted The Gazette, stating that he had decided to take himself out of what he characterized as the town’s heavily political environment.

Months prior to his exit, it was difficult not to hear the rumors that Bolen would be fired when town council members began their new terms July 1. Bolen told The Gazette in his statement last week that even the shortest ventures into the public were met with the same questions about his job.

“I have enjoyed working with our current police chief, and feel he has completed his goals,” said council member David Young, who reached out to The Gazette on Monday in an e-mail. “We all feel the sorrow of any loss that is experienced in our life, but we must move on to new experiences that life gives us.”

Young said in his message that some people will not approve of the choices that are made by council, “but it has been proven in our past history that it sometimes warrants those changes... I will not back down on any decisions that I make as your councilman.”

As council moves forward, Young made one request to the community: “I’m asking that everyone take a breath and let your mayor and town council do their job that you elected them to do. If you feel you can do a better job, please run for that position in the next election,” he said.