New HPD chief introduced at meeting


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Tandra Henderson, Keith Sidwell, and Bambi Sidwell

Before formally introducing the new Chief of the Henderson Police Department, City Manager Jerry Moss prefaced Keith Sidwell’s appearance by discussing the team that was assembled to choose Henderson’s new top cop.

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Tasha Henderson, Keith Sidwell, Bob Fleming, and George Daye

According to Moss, from October 29 to October 31 of this year, a group interviewed six candidates for the position out of a pool of 75 applications that had been received. The group included the Police Chiefs of Rocky Mount, Oxford, the assistant City Manager of Oxford, Henderson City Human Resources Manager Pam Brame and City Assistant Manager Mark Warren. The interview group was also advised by a Citizen’s Panel consisting of Bill Lloyd, Bob Fleming, George Daye, Tandra Henderson, and Denise O’Geary.

Moss stated that the individuals he had named had helped to choose what he characterized as “what will be one of the best chiefs we’ve ever had”.

The City Manager noted that while a zone commander in Roanoke, Virginia, the area that Sidwell commanded was larger than Henderson by 10,000 people. Moss ended his remarks by stating that the city was blessed to have the new chief, and that all eleven individuals involved in the hiring process chose Sidwell as the top candidate.

Sidwell was greeted by general applause from the members of the Henderson City Council as well as members of the audience.

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Sidwell addresses Council

The new chief remarked to the council that he was impressed by the citizens of Henderson. He said that in his stay in Henderson he had spoken with several residents, including the night clerk at the Jameson Inn. According to Sidwell, she had relocated back to Henderson from Atlanta because of the positive elements the community has to offer. The woman was positive about the citizens of Henderson and officers of the Henderson Police Department.

She also said that police work was not a job she wanted to do.

The new chief told the council that he had not revealed to the woman that he was a candidate for Chief of Police.

Sidwell related to the council that Moss had stated that he has the goal of making Henderson the best city in North Carolina, and he looks forward to assisting in that goal.

Henderson Mayor Clem Seifert said that Henderson is a great place. Although he admitted that the city has “issues”, he told the new chief that the city has wonderful people and over 200 employees who work diligently to provide services.

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Seifert speaking to Sidwell, flanked by Elissa Yount (left) and Bobby Gupton (right).

Seifert went on to say that the Police Department is the visible side of the city, and that public safety is critical to making people feel good about where they live.

“We have a tremendous Police Department,” Seifert said.

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Sidwell hearing remarks from Henderson City Council

The Mayor also took an opportunity to compliment Acting Police Chief Tony Clark on his stewardship of the department in the interim between chiefs. He told Sidwell that he was lucky to step into a situation with such a high quality of management.

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Henderson City Council member Mary Emma Evans

Henderson City Council member Mary Emma Evans told Sidwell, “I believe you have the finest police officers in North Carolina”. She expressed the hope that Sidwell would “say what you mean and mean what you say” when he comes before the council, because “you cannot make bricks without straw”.