Highlands has hired former Lieutenant/Detective Andrea Holland as the Town’s next Chief of Police. Holland took the oath to serve the community as Chief at a swearing-in ceremony at the Community Building last Thursday with Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor, Town Manager Josh Ward, District Attorney Ashley Welch (District 30), several of Holland’s family and friends, and law enforcement from several area agencies in attendance.
Holland said first on the agenda is getting settled into her new role as Chief and only plans on making a few minor changes at the HPD. One of her first actions as Chief was to move HPD Master Officer I Tim Broughton into the role of investigations until that position can be permanently filled, but for the most part keeping HPD as is.
“I feel this opportunity is a great honor to be named chief of the Highlands Police Department,” said Holland. “I feel humbled and blessed to work with such a tremendous department and be able to serve such a wonderful community. I believe that I have assisted in paving the way for all officers to start from an entry level position and rise through the ranks of becoming command of a department. I feel this decision will show all of my fellow officers how hard work and determination truly prevails.”
Taylor said comprehensive interviews and vetting of candidates were done by the Public Safety Committee (includes three town commissioners), Town Manager, and Town Personnel Director Emilie Nickerson. Two consultants from the North Carolina League of Municipalities also provided professional assessments.
Taylor said with unanimous support, Ward concluded the best-qualified candidate was already a member of the HPD.
“Lieutenant/Detective Andrea Holland will faithfully and diligently serve this community in her new role as Police Chief,” said Taylor. “Her education, training and experience qualifies her to be the new leader of the police department. Because she had been a police officer in Highlands for 13 years and has additional experience with other county agencies, we can expect a smooth transition in administrative leadership within the department.”
He added that as Mayor, he looks forward to working with Holland and is pleased that Ward and Nickerson developed and oversaw a fair and comprehensive process that identified the right person from a field of experienced applicants, to find the best-qualified candidate.
At the swearing in ceremony, Ward said he’s excited about the Town’s selection and he knows Holland will do a great job.
“Andrea’s hard work has propelled her through the ranks at the Highlands Police Department from Patrol Officer to Sergeant/Detective to Lieutenant,” said Ward “She has developed a strong relationship with the Highlands Community during her tenure. Andrea’s connection with the citizens of Highlands will greatly assist her as Chief of Police at Highlands Police Department.”
Holland is a native of Macon County and has served with the Highlands Police Department for the past 13, 10 years full-time. Before working with the Highlands Police Department, Holland worked 6 years as a Bailiff/detention officer with the Macon County Sheriff’s Department. Due to her past experience, she has a close relationship with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and the Macon County District Attorney’s Office.
Holland obtained her Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Southwestern Community College and her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Western Carolina University. She has also completed various leadership, management, media, and public relations courses administered by the FBI and State of North Carolina.
“I look forward to getting more involved with our community and being able to listen to the needs and concerns of the citizens of Highlands,” said Holland. “Also, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Town of Highlands, Highlands Police Department, and the citizens of Macon County for the outpouring of love and support as I transition into my new role.”
Pictured at the top of the article is Chief Andrea Holland taking the solemn oath to serve the community as Chief of Police with Christy Browning holding the Bible.