HEALDTON — In the past five years, Healdton has run through more than its share of police chiefs. But city officials believe they have found the answer for stability in the person of Shannon Davis.
Davis, a veteran officer and Healdton resident, has been tabbed as the new chief. His first day on the job is today with a swearing in at 5 p.m. at city hall. Gabriel Alexander will also be sworn in as an officer to bolster the city’s police department.
Davis has been working as an officer in Dickson and has also served with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department. His primary focus on taking the job is building a relationship with the community.
“This is my adopted hometown and you always want to give back to the community,” he said. “I see that as my make it or break it card. We are taking strides to make sure the officers get to calls and get out and meet the public. I will also be out meeting people.
“We need to listen to the people. That is something we have not done, listen to the complaints and taking action on those complaints.”
Another key change will be new uniforms. Davis said the department would incorporate a more traditional look rather than its current BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) gear.
“We want something more professional,” he said. “We don’t need to walk around looking like we are going to a swat call. I know this is minor, but we are looking forward to a fresh start.”
City manager Herb Collier said the city received 10 to 12 resumes, interviewed two finalists and reopened the search. When the search was reopened, Davis was identified as a possible candidate that would be a good fit for the city.
“We knew about Shannon and he is invested in the community,” Collier said. “The Carter County Sheriff’s Department aided in the search as well as a consultant. Of the three we interviewed, Shannon was offered the position and he accepted it.”
Collier said the city council also made an effort to provide stability in the department by increasing its pay rate.  
“The council increased the pay in hopes of finding officers that wanted to be here,” Collier said. “Obviously, that has been a challenge. It seem to be working good but finding a chief was difficult.”
Collier acknowledged Davis faces some challenges.
“We are trying to get the equipment side of things handled and money has been an issue,” Collier said. “We don’t have any uniforms and the badges have all seemed to have disappeared. There has been no accountability and we are trying to rectify that. Shannon is pushing to get the officers in the community and meet the people, develop a rapport.
“We have to change the perception of the department. It is one of our biggest challenges.”
Collier said the city has given Davis an annual salary of $34,000. Alexander will earn $28,000 annually. Alexander was formerly an employee at the Murray County jail.