SURGOINSVILLE - An East Tennessee native who worked in law enforcement for 25 years in Florida has been hired to replace the retiring Dale Scalf as Surgoinsville's police chief.
Jeff Hesoun, 45, moved to Surgoinsville last summer with his wife and two young daughters after retiring from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office with 25 years of service. He'd served as a road deputy, traffic investigator, detective and undercover narcotics officer.
At the time of his retirement, Hesoun was an aviation deputy flying helicopters in police, fire and rescue capacities.
Hesoun was raised in Norris, Tenn., just north of Knoxville, and discovered Surgoinsville about eight years ago while waiting to pick up a helicopter for his department at Tri-Cities Regional Airport.
Hesoun knew he wanted to retire to a place with a small-town "Mayberry" atmosphere which also had an airport, and Surgoinsville fit his plans perfectly. Hesoun bought property in Surgoinsville about eight years ago, and his father retired and moved there first, followed by Hesoun last summer.
"I really didn't want to retire altogether," Hesoun said. "I want my kids to see a work ethic in me and see me still going to work. I decided I can't have my kids going through life remembering their dad as a guy who stayed home and watched TV every day, so I'd better go back to work for a few more years.
"I came from a small town, so I know the needs of the small town, and I'm sensitive to how people feel about change. But I got training in Florida that Surgoinsville could never afford to give me, and I felt like this was something I could give back to the community."
Hesoun added that he wanted his young daughters to grow up in a friendly small town like he did, as opposed to Sarasota, where his neighbors weren't very friendly.
Monday evening the Surgoinsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to hire Hesoun pending his certification in Tennessee. Following the BMA meeting, there was a ceremony held to honor Scalf.
Scalf retires at the end of June, although city officials said he has vacation time that will begin before then.
Hesoun's official starting date hasn't been finalized, but it is expected to be within the next couple of weeks.