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Entire Andrews Police Force Suspended, Placed On Paid Leave

Matt Bush
The entire Andrews police force was suspended in April.

The town of Andrews in Cherokee County is currently without all four of its police officers following an incident at the police station.

Here’s what you hear if call the Andrews Police Department right now…

 “If you need to speak to an officer immediately, please press 1 to speak to Cherokee County dispatch.”

The entire Andrews Police Department has been suspended after officers reportedly moved two cameras inside the police station. This means that the cameras weren’t facing important locations like the evidence room. Police Chief Colin Gillespie and three officers were all placed on unpaid leave.

During a meeting of the Andrews Town Board last week, town attorney Holly Christy explained the situation after several residents inquired:

“The town of Andrews, once they realized that the cameras had been moved, acted immediately and contacted the appropriate authorities,” said Christy via FB Live on WKRK.

After many people voiced support for the officer during public comment, the board voted during closed session to put the department on paid administrative leave.

Credit Courtesy of WKRK Facebook Live
Last week at the town meeting, Father George Beyers introduced himself as the police chaplain. He spoke in support of the police during public comment.

An investigation into what happened is being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation.

The officer were not available for comment. 

Andrews Mayor James Reid says that while everyone makes mistakes, elected officials and the police are held to higher standard:

“I’m not really trying to comment on what their actions were but I think any of us are held to a bit higher of a standard so we need to be careful about what we do and how we do it,” said Reid in a phone interview.

Reid hopes the case will be resolved in the next month.

There have been seven police chiefs in Andrews in the last three years, according to the Cherokee Scout. Police Chief Colin Gillespie, 25, was just hired March 2021.

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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