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City PD assigns beat cop to downtown

Sgt. Robert Merz is city's new downtown beat cop. Sgt. Robert Merz is city's new downtown beat cop.

Hendersonville now has a fulltime downtown beat cop.

Police Chief Herbert Blake on Thursday night introduced Robert Merz, a Memphis native, Iraq War veteran and city patrol officer who was just promoted to sergeant. He will be responsible for working Main Street and Seventh Avenue, keeping up with shopkeepers and downtown concerns.
"I'm going to mainly try and get out on foot and go business to business to begin with," said Merz, 29. He said he expected to walk the beat most of the time but could also ride a Segway or bicycle. He starts the new job on Monday, and will work mostly days with flexibility to work other times as needed.
Merz served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 2001 to 2005, at Fort Hood, Texas, and in Baghdad during the Iraq War, and after that served in the Army Reserves with the Asheville-based 1-518th Regiment.
He and his wife, Ashley, have a nine-month baby girl, Laila.