Police force down to one officer
In addition to Sgt. Andrew Sampson, Andrews police Officers Jeffrey Brown and Megan Selby have turned in their badges to join the Cherokee Police Department.
With three gone, Sgt. Ethan Henderson is the only certified member left working at the Andrews Police Department. Henderson said it will be bittersweet seeing Brown and Selby head to Cherokee.
“They were not complaint generators,” Henderson said. “These guys came in when they were sick, and on holidays and weekends. All three (Sampson, Selby and Brown) would never complain, as well as the previous chief (Richard
Andrews Mayor James Reid said the town will receive 24/7 coverage with the assistance of the N.C. Highway Patrol and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is kind of something that was out of our hands,” Reid said. “All of these people had put in for Cherokee jobs well before we (Andrews Board of Aldermen and mayor) were elected. I’m happy for them because they’ve bettered their situation. As leaders of the town, we need to find good people to take their place.”
Brown and Selby said they decided to leave in order to grow in their careers. With the Cherokee Police Department, they will receive additional benefits, including take-home cars, better insurance, higher salary and 20-year federal retirement.
“My personal reason for leaving the police department was to make sure I could provide the most for my family and grow in this career,” Brown said. “I couldn’t do that in Andrews. The Eastern Band provides better benefits for my family.”
Like all of the Andrews officers, Brown and Selby wore many hats. They worked as patrol officers, counselors, investigators and in traffic units.
“I remember Officer Selby coming in on her day off to work on a case,” Brown said. “Here she was typing and using her foot to rock her newborn. We all had moments similar to this one.”
In addition to their ongoing roles, the officers also maintained programs. Selby was a liaison to REACH of Cherokee County Inc.
Brown was in charge of the Military 1033 Defense Reutilization & Marketing Office program. This program gave Andrews access to military equipment to supplement old equipment. Brown said through the program the department has donated RedMan suits to Tri-County Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program and sleeping bags to a local Boy Scout troop.
Henderson said both Brown and Selby grew up in Andrews and have proved huge assets to the department through their community-based knowledge.
Henderson said staff liked to joke and call Brown “Rain Man” because he could remember the faces, names, ages and license plate numbers of almost everyone he came across in town.
“Jeff (Brown) is an outstanding officer who lives the core value that nobody is above the law,” Taylor said. “He is always striving to be better at every aspect of his career. It was an honor to have such a fine officer under my command, and I wish him luck in his future endeavors.”
Brown said his hope for the force is that the town keeps the department and builds it up, as the board of aldermen promised during the campaign.
“To many people they see no need for the police department, but I can assure you it is an asset for the eastern end of the county, as well as dedicated and direct law enforcement for the taxpaying citizens of Andrews,” he said.
Selby also said she hopes the board will be able to build the department up to what the officers were trying to do with Taylor.
“The town may be small, but it doesn’t mean that they need a small police department,” Selby said. “Crime has risen over the years, and one person on shift can’t do it all, and it’s not safe. So I hope the department will grow and be suited to thrive in our town.”