Britney Lofthouse – Staff Writer
Franklin Police Department wrapped up the 2017 year on Friday with their annual banquet. Over dinner, FPD recognized outstanding officers in the department for going above and beyond the call of service. Voted on by the officers within the department, Franklin Police Department named Johnathan Bean the 2017 Officer of the Year.
“Jonathan is a highly motivated individual and he leads the department in arrests and is willing to assist other officers and agencies,” said Franklin Police Chief David Adams.
Bean started his career with the Franklin Police Department in January 2013 and was humbled by the recognition by his fellow officers.
“I was shocked and honored to hear that a majority of my fellow officers voted for me to receive he award,” said Bean.
Originally from Florence, S.C., Bean moved to the Asheville area in 2004. He graduated from Blue Ridge Community College in Hendersonville with honors and was hired by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in the Detention Center after graduating from Basic Law Enforcement Training in 2012. He moved to Franklin in 2013 when he accepted his current position with the town of Franklin.
“I have always found satisfaction in serving the public,” said Bean. “In high school I started volunteering with my local fire department and my fascination for law enforcement grew stronger. When I got laid off from a local manufacturing plant in 2009 I found this to be a perfect time to return to college, receive my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and to get certified in Basic Law Enforcement.”
According to Bean, the most challenging part of being a police officer in Franklin isn’t the hours, or the types of calls he responds to, but rather the fact that he isn’t from here.
“Not being from Franklin and discovering how close the community is to one another,” Bean said of the hardest part of his job.
In the five years with the town of Franklin, Bean said a moment that stands out to him is when he was sworn into office in Franklin.
“The most memorable moment is getting sworn in as a full time police officer for the Town of Franklin,” said Bean. “To find that I am going to be doing what I’ve always wanted to do and that all my hard work is paying off.”
Bean wanted to thank his friends and family for their support.
“I want to thank my family for putting up with all the times I’ve missed out on,” said Bean. “I want to thank the Chief and the town for the opportunity. I want to thank those who have trained me. Last, I want to thank my coworkers for the confidence and support they have given me.”
Sgt. Laurie Beegle was presented with the Community Impact Award.
“Laurie was instrumental in collecting winter coats for children, that were distributed during Shop with a Cop,” said Adams.
Beegle was hired in July of 1994 as a secretary for both the police department and Franklin Fire Department.
“The first computer I had to work on had a screen that was black and the only other color was green,” said Beegle. I did more typing on a typewriter than on a computer. One of my first assignments was to get an updated computer for the department. I developed a data base to keep track of accidents, incidents, and arrests before there were commercial programs created for these tasks. After a year on the job I was asked if I had considered going to Basic Law Enforcement Training, the goal being that I could take reports from people who walked into the office and fill in shifts when necessary. I worked full-time during the day and went to the night class for approximately eight months. This was a challenge for me, as I was shy, introverted, and lacked self-esteem. Completing BLET helped me overcome that, so I am thankful that I accepted the challenge. I worked in the office for about five more years before I went on a patrol shift full-time. As the only female at the department at that time and only the second female to work at the department I remember saying to myself that I could never be fearful or let anyone see me be fearful. My partner for most of my early years was Larry Moses and I credit him for building my confidence to do the job and keeping me safe. After about six years on the road I was promoted to Sergeant. I was grateful for having a great team on my first shift because they made it a success and I am forever grateful to Matt Breedlove and Timothy Lynn. I have been working on patrol as a Sergeant for over ten years now.”
Beegle, who was recognized for her service in the community, outside of the uniform she wears, said she was grateful for the recognition of her fellow offices.
“I am honored that others recognized my focus on trying to help others and make a difference,” said Beegle. “Capt. Apel specifically mentioned my effort in domestic violence cases. I am grateful to know that this past year, I can say at least one person that I directed to the help she needed escaped an abusive marriage. I know that she has been successful since the day she left with me and we contacted REACH. I am thankful for the community we have and the resources that I can direct people to for help. I have spent the past year trying to help as many people as I can, because it is rewarding to know you made a positive impact on someone’s life. I have worked with several groups, individuals, and organizations on different projects and fundraisers throughout the year. Even had I not received an award, those efforts have made this one of the most rewarding years of my career.”
The same things Beegle was recognized for, her involvement in domestic violence situations and helping families in those circumstances, is the very thing she says makes her job the most challenging.
“The hardest part of the job is not being at home every night to tuck my children into bed,” she said. “Being a parent and working the hours and shifts we do is a challenge. I have a daughter, 16 (Emily) and a son, 13 (Jacob), they have seen me go to work in a police car their entire lives. Without family to help me throughout the years, I could not have continued working. My grandmother (Barbara Waldroop) has helped care for them while I worked since they were infants. My father (Daniel Coates) makes sure they are taken to and picked up from school, to appointments, and after school activities. I have a great husband (John Beegle) who is in law enforcement himself, a detective with Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, and he completely understands my job and is incredibly supportive.”
While the Community Impact Award recognizes the role officers play in the community outside of the job, Beegle said that being a positive impact is actually just part of the job and something so many other people do as well.
“I believe all officers have a positive impact on the community, each in a different way,” said Beegle. “We have coaches, volunteers, mission workers, firemen, youth leaders, and mentors among us. I think when you choose this profession you do so because you want to help your community any way you can. I am thankful for having the opportunity to do so.”
In addition to Officer of the Year, FPD named Danny Bates as Supervisor of the Year. “Danny routinely covers patrol shifts when they are short,” said Adams. “He manages our IT network and serves as our ABC Officer.”