Chris Hatton


Your police department is as busy as ever. The parades and special events will keep us extra busy until the end of the year.

To update everybody, Officer Maleah Mathis is almost out of training and will be a full-fledged Sylva police officer very soon. She is a great officer already. She does a great job talking with people, especially when they are in crisis. We are lucky to have her on our team.

We have also hired another new officer, Eli Trantham. He is from Haywood County and has family working for Waynesville Police Department. He graduated from Tuscola High School and then attended Haywood Community College for two years.

Trantham wanted to get his law enforcement career started, so he signed up for Basic Law Enforcement Training at Haywood Community College. He has successfully completed that training and sought out employment at the Sylva Police Department. After all the interviews, medical evaluations and a background check, he has been hired as our newest officer in training. I am impressed by Trantham, and I am eager to see his accomplishments here in Sylva. We all believe he will fit right in.

Speaking of teams, last Saturday night, Sylva Police Department participated in the Battle of the Badges. Jackson County Fire/EMS teamed up and faced off against the county’s law enforcement agencies in a game of flag football. The proceeds went to charity, of course.

Law enforcement took the lead early in the game ... it didn’t look good for the other team. They had to do something to change the law enforcement team’s momentum.

In a moment of desperation, Team Fire’s cheerleaders ran onto the field during the game with two dozen donuts to distract the officers. Nobody was surprised when all the law enforcement players on the field left their huddle and immediately went for the donuts. This caused a delay of game penalty. But I don’t think any of us expected the entire law enforcement team’s bench to clear out and all officers to end up on the field eating donuts during the game.

There was lots of trash talk, but in the end, It was law enforcement’s night. Our team finished the game with an impressive lead. 

I am quite proud of our two officers who participated, Assistant Chief Rick Bryson and Trantham. Both of these guys made Sylva Police Department proud. Young Officer Trantham put on an ESPN-worthy show all night long. He is quite an athlete.

This game and the guys and gals on both of these teams are an inspiration. This was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in my career. This was a great way for your first responders to show you how much they care about this community. What a great group of people! Great job to both teams!

Until next time, take care of each other, slow down on our roads and please watch for people in our crosswalks.

Chris Hatton is chief of the Sylva Police Department.