EASLEY — June 1 marked the beginning of a new era within the Easley Police Department when former Major Tim Tollison was announced as the department’s new police chief to a crowd of local support including family and friends at Easley’s City Hall.
Tollison has served with EPD for 23 years and according to him, this is the achievement of a goal he had set many years before when he first began as a patrolman in his hometown.
“I started in January of 1993 with Easley and it only took me a few months to find out this is the place I wanted to be and that someday I would like to be chief of police,” Tollison said following his appointment. “Over the years I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, they tried working with other agencies and they come back to Easley to stay. That says a lot about this department and the community.”
Easley Mayor Larry Bagwell took the podium and following a brief statement made the introduction of Tollison. According to information obtained from the city of Easley via a released statement, the competition for the position was stiff.
“The rating system used by the City Council ranked the resumes resulting in the following candidates: Major Tim Tollison, Major Richard Zapal from Savannah, Ga., and Chief David Poulson from Salem, S.C. After favorable input from the city council, the community and the police department, along with Major Tollison’s 23 years of dedicated service, knowledge, and leadership capabilities, he will be an outstanding Police Chief.”
Easley City Councilman Kent Dykes said this was a great appointment for the residents of Easley.
“The city is very fortunate to have a man of his experience and credibility as the new chief,” Dykes said following the formal announcement. “We had a lot of very good people apply for this position and when we used the rating system on the candidates, he (Tollison) rose to the top.”
In his first official act as the new head of EPD, Tollison spoke of the two goals at the forefront of the beginning of his tenure.
“The first goal is to decide how we can interact with the public better than we do now, which should be the goal of any agency,” Tollison said. “We already have a good relationship with the community. We want to reach out and strengthen those ties. We want the kids in this city to see us as more than a uniform in a patrol car.”
As for the second goal, Tollison stated EPD would continue to work with Tri-County Technical College and Dr. Brian Swords on information technology, but went even further.
“Whether the state helps or not, body cameras are on the way,” he said.
Tollison is well aware of the issues facing law enforcement today and is ready to face the issue head on.
“With the way law enforcement is seen today, it’s not in a very good light. We don’t have that issue in Easley at this point and don’t plan to make any major changes other than our relationship with the community,” Tollison said. “It’s important we be involved in service organizations, community outreach, and community projects and programs.”
While the day was about the new leadership and future of EPD, there was an emotional moment as well, with Judy Tollison pinning the new badge on her son to complete the ceremony.
“It’s been an exciting day for me and my family and it was fitting for her to pin that badge on me,” Tollison explained. “When I was a young kid, my grandfather died when I was 6 years old. He had been a police officer and meant a lot to her, so I think this meant a lot for her today.”