Above, Sgt. Jeff Peterson and his son Officer Andrew Peterson.
Police departments around the country are comprised of a tight-knit group of individuals, who commonly refer to their coworkers as their brothers and sisters in blue. The Asheville Police Department is no different.
It is not uncommon for multiple generations of blood-related family members to work for the same department. At APD, a father and son have shared the badge, for instance.
Asheville Police Sgt. Jeff Peterson retired Nov. 6, after almost 27 years with the Asheville Police Department. As he exits, his son, Officer Andrew Peterson, is just beginning his career here.
A military veteran, Sgt. Peterson held a number of different positions, ranging from patrol officer to a member of the first community policing team – Police and Community Together (PACT) – to a Field Training Officer. When he retired he was serving as a Sergeant in the Baker District (South and East Asheville) and served as the Team Commander of the Crisis Negotiation Team. His son Andrew has been with the department since August 2014 and currently serves as an officer in Charlie District (Central and North Asheville).
The question was posed to both Sgt. Peterson and Officer Peterson about how it feels to be a part of a law enforcement family. They both took a different spin on the response.
Sgt. Peterson: “I have had the privilege of working with some of the best men and women in blue during my career. We are a family, sometimes a little dysfunctional, but a family nonetheless. We experienced each other’s births, deaths, marriages and even divorces…In this job we are fortunate to make friendships and relationships that last a lifetime.”
Officer Peterson: “I am still a very young officer at APD, but my experience as a part of a law enforcement family is probably different than most young officers. I have been a part of the law enforcement family at APD since before I can remember. As a kid I grew up surrounded by officers. They were at my birthday parties, at cookouts, family functions and holiday get togethers. So to me, law enforcement is family, it’s how I have grown up and all that I have ever known.”
One thing is certain, both father and son hold a common consensus in regards to their pride in one another.
Sgt. Peterson: “…I’m most proud of my son, Andrew. He grew up surrounded by this job, these people. He grew up with his father missing birthdays, Christmas mornings, ballgames and countless firsts that I wasn’t there for; because I was working. He grew up with character and kindness and now he’s a police officer too. I wish him all the success in the world.”
Officer Peterson: “I would like to congratulate my dad on his retirement! He is a great man, father and police officer and someone I look up to very much. My dad and his career have had a huge impact on me, as well as many others here at APD! He is leaving behind some big shoes for me to fill and I hope that I am able to follow in his footsteps and have a career in law enforcement as successful as his.”
Sgt. Peterson’s team from Baker District (from left to right): Officer James, Officer Butterfield, Officer Green, Sgt. Peterson, Officer Ziegler, Officer Edmonds, Officer Humphrey, Officer Lee and Officer Hunter.