Kitty Hawk welcomes new police chief, hears from residents

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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At Kitty Hawk’s brief town council meeting on July 10, administrative services director Laura Walker introduced Michael Palkovics as the town’s new police chief. Palkovics had served Henrico County in Virginia since 1993, retiring in June as lieutenant colonel and second in command over the support operations for Henrico.

“First of all, you know that we are mighty glad to see you, right?” Mayor Craig Garriss said to Palkovics warmly. “It’s an honor and a pleasure to be here,” the chief said. Walker shared that Palkovics had served in several different positions in Henrico County: patrol, field operations, professional standards, internal affairs, community services in the school system and community policing. He has received the Leslie T. Sheppard Award, Community Policing Award, Lifesaving Award and two Meritorious Unit Awards.

“He brings a wealth of policing experience,” Walker noted. “I look forward to taking this to be a premier organization in this area,” Palkovics stated. The public is invited to meet Palkovics on August 7 from 4 to 6 p.m., before the town’s next council meeting.

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The council heard from three town residents during public comment: Mark Perry, Louie Hoppe and Jesse Hines. Perry approached the council first to bring to their attention a request for a text amendment, which was submitted on Friday, July 7. “I wanted you to be aware that it’s there and to look into it if you can,” Perry said. “It is an attempt to maintain our village, our environment and our community.”

Hoppe and Hines voiced their support of the text amendment request following Perry. Hines said, “I think there’s a lot of valid stuff to look at to keep Kitty Hawk the way it is and this amazing town.” The submission had not yet been reviewed by council.

In another order of business, the council appointed a new member to the town’s planning board to fill the vacancy of Clarence “Dusty” Rhoads III. After being sworn in as the first-ever honorary member of the Kitty Hawk Town Council, Rhoads passed away on June 9. “Dusty was a true ‘Kitty-Hawker’ and just a people person,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Pruitt in a post-meeting interview. “When someone needed something, he was always there to help everybody, and as far as the town, he really cared a lot about the old traditional values of keeping Kitty Hawk close to what it was.”

The decision to swear Rhoads in as an honorary town council member was a mutual one among town hall. Pruitt shared that town clerk Lynn Morris has been with the Town of Kitty Hawk for a long time, and Rhoads had wished to be sworn in before she retired. “If he hadn’t gotten sick, he would be running for town council right now,” the mayor pro tem said. “I’m gonna miss the heck out of him. It’s not the same without him, he was that much a part of most of our lives.”

Matt Spencer, who was formerly serving as the planning board’s alternate member, was unanimously voted to fill the vacant seat. Pruitt elected Craig Merrill to the alternate position, for which all were in favor.

At its next meeting on August 7, the Kitty Hawk Town Council will hold a public hearing for a proposed text amendment regarding clarification and regulation of temporary uses such as outdoor markets, commercial yard sales and revising outdoor event regulations. For more information, visit