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B.P.D. in the News - 1988

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Here on this page you will find articles about the Blacksburg Police Department and itís officers.

DISCLAIMER: All articles are presented verbatim, as newspaper staff wrote them, with the exception of our correcting any spelling errors, and therefore the Blacksburg Police Department does not guarantee the total accuracy or completeness of the articles.
In the cases of significant errors in reporting, the webmaster will add the corrections enclosed in brackets adjacent to the error.
Articles posted on this page do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Blacksburg Police Department or the Town of Blacksburg.



SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL (on-line version)
http://www.GoUpstate.com/
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Posted on-line on December 23, 1988

Council Hires Police Officer to Fill Void - Blacksburg

The staff of the Blacksburg Town Police Department will not suffer from its loss of three officers yesterday to the Gaffney Police Department as much as they expected. A new officer was hired last night at a special meeting called by the Blacksburg Town Council.
When the last man goes to Gaffney, we'll have him coming in," said Chief Wayne Elder of the Blacksburg department. "It improves the situation from what it would've been." Roger Janney was hired by a unanimous vote at the meeting, Elder said. Janney was recommended by Elder, the town administrator and the mayor. He was supported by a 4-0 vote during the meeting. One councilman was absent from the meeting because of previous plans, but "he told me he would have voted for him (Janney) if he were here," Elder said.
Janney, a Spartanburg native now living in Blacksburg, will leave his present job as an insurance investigator to begin work at the police department Jan. 9. "We still need two more. We need to have one more as soon as possible," Elder said.



SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL (on-line version)
http://www.GoUpstate.com/
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Posted on-line on December 22, 1988

3 Officers Take Jobs in Gaffney

The Blacksburg Town Police Department's loss became the Gaffney City Police Department's gain Tuesday when three Blacksburg policemen accepted jobs in Gaffney. The loss trims the Blacksburg police staff to three men, a situation that doesn't please the town's police chief.
"That leaves me and two other officers to cover a 24-hour shift," said Blacksburg Police Chief Wayne Elder. "Hopefully we can find someone - at least one in the next week - who wants a job and, more importantly, someone who meets the qualifications."
The two resigning officers who have been employed by Blacksburg for a combined total of 4-1/2 years, plus another man who recently was hired, were offered positions by the Gaffney Police Department during its Civil Service Board meeting Tuesday night.
The loss of three officers in Blacksburg will weave a web hard to untangle because the police department needed all of its officers to operate efficiently, Elder said. "By the time you give vacation time, send them to the academy in Columbia, and allow for people being sick, you have to have at least six officers to maintain the department," he said.
Charles Blackburn, who worked for the Blacksburg department for about 3-1/2 years, and Scott Jackson, a one-year veteran officer, will join the Gaffney force. Greg Holland, who works for Spartanburg County Emergency Medical Services, was hired by the Blacksburg Department last week, but Holland said he had not started work in Blacksburg because his two-week resignation notice to the EMS had not ended. "Since Gaffney is my hometown, I can't wait," Holland said of beginning his new job.
But Elder said the personnel turnover caught the Blacksburg department off guard. "We didn't know the city was going to hire him (Holland)," Elder said, adding that he could have avoided the problem of insufficient manpower that he now faces by hiring another candidate instead of Holland. "Probably, for the next few weeks, we'll be working a lot of overtime. It really happened at a bad time. ... We'll have New Year's coming up."
Elder said he hopes to hire experienced officers to avoid monthlong training periods and ease the amount of pressure faced by the remaining officers. He said an experienced officer will require a training period of at least two weeks.
The Gaffney police chief said he also will try to erase some of the hiring tension in Blacksburg by staggering the starting dates for the new officers. "I'm going to try to work with them as far as the men coming to work ... maybe one in two weeks and another in three weeks," said Gaffney Police Chief Jimmy Scates. "That will give them some time to try to get somebody." Scates said the former Blacksburg officers will fill half of the department's vacant slots left by a patrolman who left to go back to school, a sergeant who accepted a position with the probation/parole office and a city detective who resigned to take a position at the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department.
Two other slots were filled Tuesday, leaving only one more seat to fill at the Gaffney station, Scates said. "We were just hiring last night, later we will have to promote within the department," he said. "We're filling all the slots." The promotions probably will fill any other vacant positions, Scates said. The Gaffney police chief said filling the vacant slots will make the department better. "Any time you have an increase in personnel, it will be more effective," Scates said.



SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL (on-line version)
http://www.GoUpstate.com/
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Posted on-line on December 15, 1988

Blacksburg Hires Police Officer

The town of Blacksburg voted Tuesday night to hire Greg Holland of Gaffney as a police officer. Holland replaces Michael Short who resigned from the force in October. Holland had been working with the Spartanburg County Emergency Medical Service.



SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL (on-line version)
http://www.GoUpstate.com/
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Posted on-line on December 13, 1988

Cherokee Lawmen Honored

The Cherokee County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse yesterday honored the county's law enforcement officers who have made the most arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Distinguished Service Awards are given each year to the member of each law enforcement agency in Cherokee County who has made the most DUI arrests in the past year, said Charles Reynolds, commission director.
This year, the awards went to Bill Tabor of the Highway Patrol, who made 57 DUI arrests; Greg Phillips of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department, who made 20 arrests; Butch Fowler of the Gaffney Police Department, who made 16 arrests; and Leonard Foster of the Blacksburg Police Department, who made 15 DUI arrests.



SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL (on-line version)
http://www.GoUpstate.com/
Spartanburg, South Carolina

November 10, 1988

SLED Probe Sought of Wrecker Services

BLACKSBURG - The Town Council has voted unanimously to seek a State Law Enforcement Division investigation of the Police Department's handling of a local wrecker ordinance. The vote came Tuesday night after months of bickering about the ordinance and accusations by a local wrecker service operator that the Police Department favors a service owned by Town Councilman Bill Patterson.
Patterson made the motion to ask for the investigation. He could not be reached for comment yesterday, but his son, Scott Patterson, who works in his father's towing business, said the request was made to clear the family name. "We're trying to say we're not wrong. We haven't done anything wrong," the younger Patterson said. He said politics was behind the accusations leveled by competing wrecker operator Billy Tessner.
Blacksburg Police Chief Wayne Elder said he has done nothing wrong, but the council's request angers him. "I know I've done nothing wrong. I'm willing to bet my life that no one who works for me has done anything wrong. On the other hand, it ticks me off that they have no more confidence in me and my department."
The controversy began in August when Tessner accused Elder of violating the city's ordinance by helping Patterson's Wrecker Service get business. A review of the town's records at the time showed that police dispatchers routinely rotated each of the eight names on the police list when calling for tow trucks.
However, in cases where a preference was stated by the owner of the vehicle, Patterson's Wrecker Service got a majority of the business. The town's ordinance specifies that the rotating list will be used unless the vehicle owner requests a specific company. Elder said at the time that he cannot control which company a person requests.
The controversy continued, with each side accusing the other of soliciting business at accident scenes, a violation of the ordinance and state law. Elder has said the ordinance contains too many loopholes and is causing enforcement problems for his five-man police force.
The matter came to a head two weeks ago when Tessner and Mike Patterson, another of the councilman's sons who works for him, were cited by police for violating the ordinance when they went to an accident scene. Scott Patterson said a child involved in the accident ran to his nearby garage seeking help, saying he thought his mother was dead. Patterson said he sent his brother and called an ambulance, then ran to the accident.
There is disagreement on whether the Pattersons or Tessner even had a tow truck at the scene, but Elder said, "The way our ordinance is worded, they were in violation even though they went out there to help that woman." Elder said he hopes trials in the magistrate's court cases will help clear up the matter. Both men have pleaded not guilty, but no trial dates have been set.
Even if there is a SLED probe, Elder said, the problem will not end. "It will lay to rest old allegations, but (the problem) won't end until the council gets enough backbone to tell these wrecker companies, `If you don't like how the list is run, stay out of our town.' The council has to shoulder some of the responsibility for what has taken place."



SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL (on-line version)
http://www.GoUpstate.com/
Spartanburg, South Carolina

October 29, 1988

2 Charged with Violating Wrecker Law

BLACKSBURG -- Two Blacksburg tow truck operators were charged yesterday with violating the town's wrecker ordinance by responding to an accident Wednesday without being called by police, Magistrate Harold Patterson said. Billy Tessner and Mike Patterson were both charged yesterday with violating the wrecker ordinance, the magistrate said. Tessner and Mike Patterson were released on $118 personal recognizance bonds.
Charles Blackburn, a Blacksburg police officer, signed warrants against the men in connection with his investigation of an accident on Lime and Chester streets in Blacksburg. At least two people were hospitalized as a result of the accident, Harold Patterson said.
In August, Tessner accused Blacksburg Police Chief Wayne Elder of playing favorites when calling wreckers to Blacksburg accidents. Tessner alleged that Elder and his officers were giving extra business to Town Councilman Bill Patterson, who operates a towing service and is the father of Mike Patterson. Tessner and Mike Patterson have both requested jury trials in the case.
The town ordinance states: "Wreckers shall respond only upon the request of the proper police authority. Response under any other condition may result in removal from the wrecker list."



SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL (on-line version)
http://www.GoUpstate.com/
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Posted on-line on October 11, 1988

Policeman Hits Car in His Path

Blacksburg -- A police officer and a Blacksburg resident received only minor injuries yesterday in a two-car collision involving a patrol car.
According to state Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Beheler, Sandra Tadlock, 35, of 402 W. Lime St., pulled out of John Street at 6:48 a. m. onto S.C. Highway 5 into the path of Officer Fred Jackson, who was in pursuit of a speeding vehicle. Jackson hit the side of Tadlock's car, Beheler said, destroying her vehicle and causing approximately $2,000 worth of damage to the police car.
Beheler said the police car was exceeding the speed limit, but was not "wide open" at the time of the collision. Jackson received a cut above his eye, Beheler said, but did not go to the hospital for treatment. Tadlock was treated at Upstate Carolina Medical Center and released, an official in the hospital's emergency room said. Beheler said no charges have been filed in connection with the collision, but his investigation is continuing.



SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL (on-line version)
http://www.GoUpstate.com/
Spartanburg, South Carolina

August 11, 1988

Police Chief Wants Wrecker Ordinance Killed

Meanwhile, a check of town records shows that Councilman Bill Patterson's wrecker service, the one Elder is accused of favoring, has gotten most of the owner-requested business this year, while a rotating system seems to spread the rest of the business out among eight operators.
At Tuesday night's Town Council meeting, wrecker service operator Bill Tessner accused Elder of violating the town's wrecker ordinance by helping Patterson get business. Yesterday, Tessner said he has no evidence of wrongdoing, and Elder and Patterson have denied the accusations. Elder also is demanding a public apology from Tessner, and threatened a slander lawsuit if he doesn't get one.
Elder said the town should buy its own tow truck so "it can cut out a lot of controversy" about which company gets the most city business. He suggested abolishing the wrecker ordinance, which provides that the owner of a disabled vehicle may request a particular wrecker service. If no preference is stated, the officer is to take the top name off a rotating list. That name is then placed at the bottom of the list so each company has an equal opportunity to get business that way.
"Let them run (to wreck scenes)," Elder said, "and if someone else gets there first, they won't have any reason to gripe, and if they speed on the way, we can set up radar" and ticket them. The present law, which forbids solicitation by wrecker companies, contains loopholes and causes enforcement problems for his department, Elder said.
Blacksburg Police Department records show that the wrecker list has been consulted 20 times this year. Called three times were Al Tessner, brother of Billy Tessner; Bill Tessner's garage, owned by Billy Tessner's father; and Charlie Goforth. Called twice were Billy Tessner's service; Patterson's Mobil station; Cook's Wrecker Service; Borders' Body Shop; and Scott Patterson, son of Councilman Patterson. On one call, it was unclear from the records which service was called.
In nine other cases, the vehicle owner stated a preference. Of those, Patterson was called five times; Billy Tessner towed twice; Al Tessner towed once; and Jim Campbell of Gaffney towed once. "I can't force them into asking for somebody when they want somebody else," Elder said of Patterson getting the majority of requests from those with a preference. Tessner said Patterson gets more requests because his sons unfairly solicit the business over the telephone by getting the names of owners of disabled vehicles at the scenes of accidents.


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