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Beddingfield resigns as Columbus Police Chief

COLUMBUS — A familiar face in law enforcement is hanging up his hat in Polk County after spending almost 20 years working in the area.

Columbus Police Chief Chris Beddingfield resigned recently to take the police chief position for the Town of Biltmore Forest. 

Chris Beddingfield recently offered his resignation as Columbus police chief, with his last day being March 16. Current Capt. Scott Hamby will take over as chief. (Photo by Leah Justice)

Beddingfield began working in Polk County as a law enforcement officer 19 years ago, as the first school resource officer at Polk County High School, under then Polk County Sheriff David Satterfield.

Beddingfield served several roles with the sheriff’s office for several years, including patrol and criminal investigations, working several murders and drug cases.

Beddingfield worked for the Tryon Police Department for nine months, and spent 17 years as a part-time reserve officer for Tryon.

He was hired by the Columbus Police Department in 2007, and became police chief on Jan. 1, 2011.

“This decision comes with mixed emotions, and is very bitter sweet,” Beddingfield said. “It was after much prayer and consultation with my family that I made this decision. I am so thankful for the years that I have spent in Columbus and Polk County.”

The chief said he is very thankful for the many citizens, businesses and agencies, and that he has had so many positive community relationships over his 19 years in the county.

He thanked the mayor and town council of Columbus, saying they have been simply amazing.

“[Columbus Town Council] truly care, and look after the best interest of the town, which is not always easy,” Beddingfield said. “They gave me the opportunity to lead the police department seven years ago, and I feel like we have progressed tremendously since then. Again, progress is not always easy.”

Beddingfield said the officers of the Columbus Police Department deserve all the credit, as they are the boots on the ground working to keep the community safe 24/7.

“Very competent leadership is in place, and prepared to keep the agency improving and moving forward,” said Beddingfield.

He said he is thankful for the opportunity to lead the Biltmore Forest Police Department, and excited to build relationships there just as he did in Polk County.

Another factor in his decision, he said, was the chance to work again with Biltmore Forest Town Manager Jon Kanipe, who is a former Columbus Town Manager.

Beddingfield’s last day with Columbus will be March 16. Current Capt. Scott Hamby will become the town’s new chief of police.

Beddingfield will remain with the Columbus Police Department as a part-time reserve officer to handle the BikeSafe NC motorcycle safety classes, the police motorcycles and officer training, as needed.