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Spring Hope’s top cop named Nashville police chief

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Spring Hope’s police chief is headed to Nashville to take the chief’s position left vacant there when former Nashville Chief Tom Bashore stepped down in December to work for the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.

Anthony Puckett, who was raised in the Gold Valley community and is a 1990 graduate of Southern Nash High School, has led the Spring Hope department for the last five years, making sweeping changes to the department that saw an increase in personnel, upgrades in equipment, implementation of numerous community relations programs, the addition of a full-time K-9 officer and pay increases for officers.

Puckett earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from North Carolina Wesleyan College and also earned his master’s in criminal justice from the University of Central Missouri. Most recently, Puckett graduated from the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.

Prior to coming to Spring Hope, Puckett served on the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Mount Police Department, and Wake Forest Police Department. He has also served as a military police officer with the North Carolina National Guard.

Spring Hope Town Manager Jae Kim said he was disappointed but was also glad that the town had him as long as it did.

“Obviously we would have loved for him to stay and we will miss him here in Spring Hope, but the town was very fortunate to have him for the last five years,” said Kim. “He was a real asset here and he will be a real asset to Nashville, and we certainly wish him all the best in that role.”

Now tasked with finding a new police chief, Kim is first looking within the Spring Hope ranks.

“We do have some qualified candidates here in our department,” Kim said. “Before we look outside our ranks, we will first consider those candidates that meet the requirements internally.”

The final hiring decisions in Spring Hope for police chief and any other staff are made by the town manager.

Puckett’s last day with Spring Hope will be June 17; he starts with Nashville on June 18.