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East Spencer police officers honored for standoff action

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
EAST SPENCER ó A pair of local police officers were honored Monday by members of the East Spencer Board of Alderpersons for their actions in an armed standoff last month in Spencer.
East Spencer Police Chief Ronald Hines and Spencer Police Cpl. Tony Hinson received plaques presented by Mayor Erma Jefferies.
“It required dedication, leaving your fear behind,” she said of the officers’ actions. “Officer Hinson and Officer Hines stepped into the leaving-fear-behind mode.”
No one mentioned the specific incident by name, but after the meeting several people acknowledged the plaques were given for the actions of Hines and Hinson regarding a standoff with former Spencer Mayor Alicia Bean. On May 15, she held officers at bay in her backyard with an assault rifle.
After about an hour, Hines and Hinson sneaked around the corner of an outbuilding and tackled Bean inside. An incident that could easily have ended with a fatality came to a peaceful conclusion.
Jefferies read aloud from the plaques she presented Hines and Hinson. They refer to the “selfless act of valor while battling an armed suspect. On this date, you saved a life, saved many lives.”
Spencer Mayor Jody Everhart, Police Chief Robert Bennett and Sgt. Eric Ennis were on hand for the presentations.
“Both of you are in our hearts, not just this day, but every day,” Everhart told Hines and Hinson.
Everhart compared the teamwork the officers displayed to links in a chain. “One link breaks and it all falls down,” he said.
Everhart and Bennett noted that a mutual-aid agreement involving Spencer and East Spencer officers had been reinstated only weeks prior to the standoff. Through the agreement, officers from the two departments assist one another as needed, which explains Hines’ prompt response to the standoff in Spencer.
“Mutual aid worked great,” Bennett said. “Luckily we had this in place right at the right time.”
Everhart said he arrived just as the incident was drawing to a close, and said he was proud of the actions of officers from both departments.
“It relieved me when I learned everything ended peacefully,” he said.
In other matters handled Monday, alderpersons:
– Listened as Town Administrator Donnie Jones presented the proposed town budget for fiscal year 2009-2010.
Jones said the budget will take some fine-tuning before it’s presented for approval later this month.
“It is exactly what it says it is, a proposal,” he said. “It’s not written in stone.”
The proposed budget totals $2.2 million, a $196,000 (8.1 percent) drop from the current budget. The lion’s share of that decrease comes from the general fund, which has been cut by 15.8 percent.
“All of us are going to have to take a hit,” Jones warned.
No one spoke during a public hearing concerning the proposed budget.
– Agreed to a transportation agreement between the town and Kujimani Creative Arts for the rental of a van through the end of July. The van will be used for participants of the SUCCESS After School program.
Alderpersons agreed to pay $950, or 25 percent of the money needed for the rental.

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