City News

Entries for January 2013

Interim City Manager Larry Pressley has announced the appointment of Deputy Fire Chief Dennis A. Hutchens as Acting Fire Chief for the Statesville Fire Department. Hutchens, 57, is filling the position left vacant by the retirement of Chief David Bullins.

Hutchens has been with the SFD for 26 years, 20 of them as an officer, said Pressley. “He has been in charge of the administrative side of the fire department since 2008. I am confident that he will provide a smooth transition for the fire department and the City as a whole as we take steps to prepare to hire a new chief,” said Pressley. “Dennis has worked side-by-side with
Chief Bullins on many projects and is knowledgeable about the matters still pending.”
Excited by the opportunity, Hutchens said he knows he has “tough shoes to fill … but I have great people to work with in the fire department. I have also learned so much from working with the City staff and council members. They have been unknowing mentors and taught me a lot.”

Hutchens was a battalion chief from 1993 to 2008, when he was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief of Administrative Services. His responsibilities have included budget development and administration, personnel record management, fire and safety division supervision, grant research and preparation, and fire station maintenance.
He has an undergraduate degree from Gardner-Webb University and is set to receive his Masters of Public Administration from Appalachian State University later this year. He has received various fire certifications, including earning the professional designation of Chief Fire Officer in 2011.

Bullins is retiring to take a position with Guilford Technical Community College as the department chair for the school’s Fire Protection Technology and Emergency Preparedness Programs. Hutchens will assume the chief duties effective February 18.

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The 10th Citizens’ Police Academy is set to begin in March. This 10-week program is open to residents 18 years old.

The Academy is a great way to gain a better understanding of police services and to inform interested cadets of the career opportunities available in the police department. Each class is taught by a police officer who will discuss the functions of each division, such as criminal law, domestic violence, crime prevention, crime scene processing and DWI enforcement.

Students will participate in a ride along with a patrol officer, receive hands on training in various techniques and face very challenging shoot or no shoot situations utilizing a simulator.

Interested persons must complete an application (click here to download application). Once it has been reviewed and a background investigation conducted, you will be contacted about admission.

For more information, email Chan Austin or call him at 704-878-3442.

Click here to go to the Citizens' Academy web page.

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Fire Chief David Bullins has accepted a position with Guilford Technical Community College as the department chair for the school’s Fire Protection Technology and Emergency Preparedness Programs. He will begin the new position on Feb. 20, 2013. His last day as Chief is Feb. 15.

Bullins was a 24-year veteran of the Greensboro Fire Department prior to coming to Statesville in 2007. His last position with the GFD was Battalion Chief in charge of Planning and Research.

Bullins brought a tremendous amount of training and experience in GIS and IT techniques to the City. He guided the City through the construction of a fourth fire station and hiring of 14 additional firefighters. His leadership has helped prepare the City for future growth.

Bullins holds a BS degree from the University of Cincinnati in Fire Safety and Engineering, which he received Magna Cum Laude. He also graduated from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg Maryland in the Executive Fire Officer Program.

Chief Bullins was awarded the professional designation of “Chief Fire Officer” (CFO) by the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC), making him one of only 602 CFOs worldwide. He also served as the president of the Western North Carolina Association of Firefighters.

Pressley has not made an announcement about Bullins’ replacement.

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Police Chief Tom Anderson announces implementation of an important initiative in a number of area schools.

“We have always worked very closely with the school system to create a safe school environment for students and teachers,” said Anderson, but “in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting tragedy, the Statesville Police Department will be doing some things differently … and better.”
Anderson said that first and foremost, there will be an increased presence of uniformed officers in the schools located in the Statesville city limits: Statesville High, Statesville Middle, Northview IB, Pressley, N.B. Mills, East Elementary, Third Creek, Cloverleaf, Statesville Christian and American Renaissance.
“These are proactive measures only,” explained Anderson. “We understand there is a growing level of fear throughout our nation and in our community and our increased presence in the schools is just one step of many the police department is taking.”
Another important piece of the initiative is to review school procedures and operational responses with the principals and key personnel. “These discussions have been extremely beneficial. This has been where we have developed what I consider the most important part of the effort,” stressed Anderson.
It involves the assignment of SPD command staff officers to the designated schools (listed in third paragraph) and the location of police substations offices inside N.B. Mills, East Elementary and Statesville High Schools. Much like the Adopt-A-School program, police captains and higher ranking officers “will be given a school to check on and be accountable for,” explained Anderson. “These officers will meet regularly with school staff to address needs and issues and to provide increased presence.”
The way law enforcement protects the community’s children is changing, said Anderson. "The Statesville Police Department has to stay on top of the schools’ needs and concerns. “
By checking in regularly at the schools and even doing police work from the facilities, Anderson believes this will have a positive impact to students, faculty, parents and the community as a whole. “We appreciate the use of the facilities to conduct daily police work, also,” he said, noting that he has established a satellite office at N.B. Mill School.
In addition, SPD will conduct scenario based training in several of these schools. According to Anderson, this training was recently conducted at Mitchell Community College and was highly successful. “Since the Columbine incident, law enforcement has undergone an operational paradigm shift in how we address active shooter situations. Since that time, law enforcement nationally has continually trained and revised tactics to address these ever increasing threats. Our department and school system will take this a step further in how we train and assess our needs by making this realistic training site and staff specific,” he explained.
Anderson added that the SPD will focus attention on day care centers within the City and other related institutions they identify. Anderson praised school officials, saying, “We want to thank the Iredell Statesville School System for the valuable relationship we share. Together we will continue to keep our schools safe by proactively working together and maintaining a high level of preparation. “

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Nancy Davis
Public Affairs Director
email Nancy