Police Officers receive award

Lieutenant Orrie Smith, Chief of Police Kevin Hodges, Officer Justin Spear and Sergeant Mike Henley with awards for exemplary service to the Banner Elk community.

BANNER ELK — At the Banner Elk Town Council meeting on Sept. 9, the Banner Elk Police Department recognized three officers with awards regarding their excelling service within the community.

Chief of Police Kevin Hodges presented Sergeant Mike Henley and Lieutenant Orrie Smith with an Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate. Alongside them, Chief Hodges also presented Officer Justin Spear with his Intermediate Law Enforcement certificate.

All the police officers honored have served their community and went above and beyond for their town, said Hodges.

“We are very proud of all of our police officers here in Banner Elk,” Mayor Brenda Lyerly said.

According to Hodges, all but one of the police force in Banner Elk has the Intermediate Law Enforcement certificate. This certificate is not required, but processing it, shows exceptional drive and passion of local law enforcement.

Alongside honoring the police officers and their commitment to their service, Banner Elk Town Council meeting also had a discussion regarding the transportation of involuntary commitments.

The Memorandum of Transportation calls for a local law enforcement officer in the municipality to accompany an individual that poses a threat to themselves or others to appropriate care facilities.

During this conversation, Hodges informed the council of the potential burden this motion could have on the police force, as well as the financial cost that could be associated with it.

After further conversation, the council determined that if this motion did pose to be a great expense, then it will be worth revisiting at that point. Fortunately, events that require this sort of reaction do not happen often, according to Hodges.

Later on during the meeting, improvements to the Historic Banner Elk School were addressed. Town Manager Rick Owen was able to speak toward the landscaping alteration to the school. The once-overgrown entrance now has manicured lawn space where the facility can be seen in its entirety.

The council also brought up the vacancy on the Local Relief Fund Board, with a recommendation from Banner Elk Volunteer Fire and Rescue of Gary Miller. This decision was agreed upon by the board.

Zoning Administrator Cheryl Buchanan also stated the groundwork regarding the 2020 Census was under way and mentioned that the census would be done online. While this does save time and money, it might appear to be a problem for individuals without access to internet at home.

Buchanan and fellow board members began the conversation of having a computer set up in Town Hall with access to the census for those who need to participate without ability to at home.

Upcoming events for the town include the Family Picnic and Concert which will take place on Sept. 19, in partnership with Lees-McRae College. The event is meant to kickoff family week and will begin at 5 p.m.

Banner Elk Town Council meets the second Monday of every month at Banner Elk Town Hall. For more information, click to www.townofbannerelk.org/meetings/meeting-schedules.

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