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Avery County Native Byron Clawson Named New Banner Elk Police Chief, Takes Over After Burleson Retired

By Jesse Wood

May 16, 2013. On Thursday, Banner Elk Town Manager Rick Owen announced Byron Clawson as the new chief of police. 

Clawson takes over for Bill Burleson, who was the Banner Elk police chief for about 20 years. Burleson told the Banner Elk Town Council in December that he would retire in the spring. 


A native of Avery County, Clawson currently lives in the Banner Elk area with his wife Jessica and their three children. He has been employed with the Banner Elk Police Department for 17 years, where he worked his way from patrol officer to patrol sergeant. In 2007, Clawson became the first officer to hold the lieutenant position for the department. 

As lieutenant, Clawson conducted major investigations, supervised personnel and assisted Burleson.

Owen said he believes Clawson will do an outstanding job as the new Banner Elk police chief. 

 “Lieutenant Clawson has proven himself to be dedicated, honest and loyal. He has the ethics and leadership we were looking for in a new Police Chief,” Owen said.