A volatile political atmosphere and instability in the town are among the main reasons Greg Bolen said he resigned Monday as Chief of the Hillsville Police Department.
Bolen turned in his letter of resignation June 30. He said he has slightly over two weeks of vacation to use, so his resignation will take effect July 16. When Bolen was hired as Chief of the Hillsville Police Department in 2012, he described the position to The Carroll News as his dream job. But over the past 19 months, he said he grew tired of the political environment in the town.
“I left because it was such a volatile, political atmosphere,” Bolen said. “It is hard enough doing that job as it is, then when politics come into play it makes it even more difficult.”
Tuesday, July 1 started the first day of a new two-year cycle for Hillsville Town Council with newly elected Councilman Bill Tate beginning his duties in the Sulphur Springs Ward. Hillsville Town Council is not scheduled to meet again until Monday, July 14, but rumors have been swirling around town about possible personnel changes.
“The past couple of months have felt like I was almost in limbo. Rumors on the street were, ‘They are going to fire you,’ ‘No, they are going to keep you,’” Bolen said. “I heard the same thing from other town officials. One day they are going to keep me, the next day they are going to fire me. That is just not a professional atmosphere to be in, and to be honest with you I just choose not to be in that atmosphere anymore. It had become unbearable at times.”
Bolen said he recently came home one day and talked the situation over with his family before making the decision to turn in his resignation.
“I don’t make a decision without them. We prayed about it and we all came to the decision that this would be the best thing for me and my family to go ahead and leave,” Bolen said. “It was so unstable. It had no stability to it and I really couldn’t count on it from one day to next. That is the big reason why I left. I have always been part of a team, and anything I have done it life, whether it be sports or work, there needs to be some unity. But with the politics going on in the town, it is causing there to be no unity.”
Bolen said he felt like the job has aged him considerably over the past 19 months as well, which also played a role in his decision to leave the Hillsville Police Department.
“And maybe with my exit, my resignation, maybe this can be the first in helping those guys come together and start working together unified. That is all I would hope for as a citizen of this town,” Bolen said. “I would love to see everybody working together with no politics getting in the way of that. I’m just not a political person. Politics has it place, but I don’t want to get involved with that in a police department. My job was to serve and protect the citizens and do what was best for my department and our town.”
Bolen said he will always cherish working for the citizens and the business people in the Town of Hillsville. He hopes his legacy will be bringing them closer together with the Hillsville Police Department.
“I believe that under my watch, the relationships that were established with the citizens and the business people were something that hasn’t been there in years. I am going to miss that part of the job, getting out and doing my foot patrols, talking with the citizens on the street and checking on the elderly citizens at home,” Bolen said. “My dad always told me to leave a place better than when I found it, and I think I have definitely left the Hillsville Police Department in better shape than I found it, from the outside in. I am proud of all my accomplishments I was able to complete while I was there. I also want the citizens to know if I can do anything for them, all they have to do is let me know. It won’t be in the same capacity, but I will always be a good neighbor.”