ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) -- Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper has announced her resignation from the department, effective Jan. 2, 2019. She's reportedly plans to pursue consulting opportunities.
Chief Hooper previously gave notice of her resignation to the former city manager in February of 2018 with the intent to transition into consulting at that time. However, with the former city manager’s dismissal, Chief Hooper recognized the need to provide strong leadership to the police department during a critical time. As such, she committed to continue leading the police department until a new city manager was hired.
In a press release, the City of Asheville says they are grateful for the contributions Chief Hooper has made to the police department.
Chief Hooper will meet with the new city manager, Debra Campbell, during December to allow for a smooth transition of leadership in the police department. She has also agreed to provide 75 consulting hours following her last day of employment to assist with the transition.
Chief Hooper started her work in Asheville in July of 2015. Prior to her arrival in the mountains, she had served 26 years with the City of Alexandria, Virginia, where she retired as the Deputy Chief of Police.
Last March, the Chief came under fire as community members questioned the department's handling of the former Officer Chris Hickman, seen on leaked dash-cam footage that showed him punching Johnny Rush who jaywalked.
Chief Hooper addressed community members at a tense meeting that had no solid resolution to tensions. The President of the Fraternal Order of police tells us Chief Hooper was an excellent chief but that City Council has created a hostile anti-policing environment, saying he isn't surprised she resigned.
"I’m not shocked, I mean, the environment here in Asheville she's been through a lot of people surprised she stayed this long because she's been accused of things that's not true and environment is an anti-police environment that's been after her for a while," says Fraternal Order of Police President Rondell Lance.
The interim city manager issued this release this morning after the news began breaking, the message saying Chief Hooper would stay on through January 2nd of 2019 and it listed her achievements including revision of department policies including a new use of force policy.
Lance tells News 13 Chief Hooper was well respected by officers. Chief Hooper has not issued an official statement.
Deputy Chief Wade Wood will act as the Interim Chief of Police following Chief Hooper’s last day. The details of the national search for Asheville’s next chief of police will be announced in the near future. The search will include input from the community, employees and the City's leadership team.
This is a developing story, we will provide updates as they become available.