Filed under: Police
Events in Ferguson, Missouri, have sparked a national conversation about police procedures, equipment and response to citizens demonstrating in the face of tragedy.
Given these concerns, it is understandable that many may be wondering about the Asheville Police Department’s responsive procedures. Asheville is a city of many opinions, and we at APD are proud of our track record of responding to demonstrations and those who exercise their right of free speech. We take constitutional rights and public safety seriously and approach our response to demonstrations and other events with professionalism and respect. I share this because I want everyone to know that we have a police department worthy of your confidence.
By examining and putting into practice policies that address our officers’ procedures during such events, the Asheville community has over the past decade been an open and safe place for free speech and expression for demonstrators and onlookers alike. Each of our officers is trained in crowd management strategies that allow for the free expression of ideas and protect the safety of the public. These strategies have been evident during the course of several high-profile events, including Moral Monday rallies, open-carry demonstrations and the Occupy Asheville event.
Most recently, concern across the nation has turned to the use of military-style equipment in police departments. Our use of specialized tactical equipment is reserved for operations that require the deployment of highly-trained and likewise specialized Emergency Response Team (ERT) members, as in the two-day standoff on Max Street in January of this year. I emphasize the word “specialized” because these officers only deploy this kind of equipment when there is a direct and real threat to the safety of the public. Deployment of our ERT requires the approval of our supervisors. In the Max Street case, the use of an armored vehicle kept our officers safe as they negotiated the delicate situation at hand and their efforts achieved a successful outcome with no injuries.
APD officers consider ourselves part of the larger community we serve and protect by actively seeking out connections, making sure that we are visible and well known in both the neighborhoods and business districts of Asheville. This outreach means that citizens and officers talk, get to know one another, and assist each other in keeping our city safe.
I believe the concerns of the public are the concerns of the APD, and these conversations are important for us to have in order to grow and remain strong as a community. Just recently, both Sheriff Duncan and I participated in a Use of Force forum, hosted by the Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Council. It is my hope that while we have these conversations, we will look to each other for support.
Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the recent events.
- Asheville Police Chief William Anderson
August 18, 2014
The Asheville Police and Fire Departments and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, with the sponsorship support of Target, Inc., will host a local National Night Out (NNO) kick-off event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5.
NNO is a nationwide, annual crime prevention and community policing event. NNO events are designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and community-law enforcement collaboration by promoting crime prevention.
The local kick off will be held at Carrier Park on Amboy Road in West Asheville.
Neighborhoods are invited to participate in the family oriented kick off celebration, which will feature food, a raffle of prizes provided by Target including 20 inch bikes (two for girls and two for boys), backyard games with law enforcement officers and public safety vehicles. KISS FM/99.9 and LEAF and the Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab will be at the event to provide entertainment for kids and adults. Public safety officers will be available to offer tips and facts about crime prevention.
After the kick off, neighbors are encouraged to return home to hold community oriented events in their neighborhood. Local law enforcement officers are available year-round to help neighborhoods develop strategies to build community and neighborhood solidarity against crime.
This year’s sponsorship is part of the ongoing support that Target, Inc. provides to local law enforcement agencies and community groups throughout the country.
Click below for video about National Night Out.
For more information about local National Night Out activities and ongoing crime prevention strategies, contact Natalie Bailey, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, at Natalie.Bailey@buncombecounty.org or 250-4469 or Keith McCulloch, City of Asheville Crime Prevention Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 259-5834.
In the event of bad weather, please check the Recreation Weather Hotline to see if the event will take place as scheduled. The Weather Hotline number is 251-4082.
For more information about the national initiative, visit http://www.nationalnightout.org/nno/.
July 31, 2014
The Asheville Police Department is now inviting residents to apply for the fall semester of its Citizens Police Academy.
This free program gives participants insight into the philosophy and policies that govern the APD’s service to the community. The class is designed to give residents an appreciation for the problems and challenges facing law enforcement, as well as an up-close opportunity to offer insights, ideas, and solutions.
Classes begin on September 4th at 5:30 p.m. at the police department.
The academy lasts for 12 consecutive weeks, with three-hour classes held on Thursdays. The final day of the class is a graduation ceremony.
The course consists of basic classroom instruction, presentations, and demonstrations on topics such as criminal investigations, constitutional and criminal law, use of force, departmental structure, and defensive tactics.
Participants will also be able to ride with police officers on patrol.
Those wishing to participate must apply and be accepted. For more information on the academy, contact Officer Keith McCulloch at 259-5834 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
July 10, 2014
The Asheville Police Department’s development of a strategic operations plan for 2014-2017 reaches a new milestone as the department prepares to introduce its three-year plan to the community. The Strategic Operations Plan is a proactive tool intended to deliver guidance and structure for the department to continually improve its service to the citizens of Asheville.
Now, you can see the APD Strategic Operations Plan, background on the development process and upcoming steps in its implementation at ashevillenc.gov/projects.
The SOP development process began in 2013, with the recognition of the need for a roadmap for the department as it heads into the future. Since then, an ongoing input process that includes members of the public, stakeholders, the Citizens Police Advisory Committee, and police department employees, has provided the framework for a successful blueprint.
“Our plan not only serves as the foundation for how we will provide police services in the future, but also serves as the department’s vehicle for establishing a shared vision as a unified department,” said APD Chief William Anderson.
Anderson will present the Strategic Operations Plan to the public at a series of meetings, beginning with a July 17 meeting at the Public Works facility at 161 S. Charlotte St. The community is encouraged to attend to learn how public input was integrated into the plan and participate in the next steps for strengthening the partnership between the department and the community. The meeting will take place from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
“We knew from the beginning that the public’s involvement would be crucial to creating a successful plan,” Anderson said. “We are looking forward to presenting this plan and continuing the dialog with the community.”
July 7, 2014
In a ceremony at Asheville City Hall Thursday, Asheville Police Chief Willam Anderson announced the promotion of officer Evan Coward to the rank of Sergeant.
Coward is an eight-year veteran on the APD and has served as a Community Resource Officer for the South/Central district since 2007. His work as a CRO and his contributions to the improvement of neighborhoods there earned him much support in the communities he serves.
“He’s been one of the finest, dedicated individuals I’ve worked with in some time,” Andserson said.
Alongside Coward’s friends and family, Thursday’s ceremony was attended by members of the community, fellow APD officers, city staff and elected officials.
June 20, 2014
An approach developed four years ago by the Ashville Police Department to interacting with people experiencing homelessness has proved so successful it is now official departmental policy.
The APD’s homelessness strategy prioritizes connecting people with available services and housing assistance over making arrests, and giving people using illegal camps seven days to vacate. The success of the procedure is cited as a major factor in reducing chronic homelessness in Asheville, and in April, the APD added the approach to its policy manual and began department-wide training in such interactions.
In 2005, Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission adopted a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, and Council supported the establishment of the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative and the “Housing First” model. That approach calls for providing housing to people experiencing homelessness with no strings attached – a model that gained big successes on a national level.
In 2010, the APD applied that philosophy when responding to calls about homeless camps, introducing people there to service providers and handing out information outlining where to find housing assistance.
“We adopted a protocol that gives people seven days to vacate a camp, while at the same time connecting them to services,” says Sgt. Jackie Stepp. The department also partnered with outreach groups like Homeward Bound and the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville. “The idea is to connect them with services and divert them away from the justice system, and not go into a situation anticipating making an arrest.”
Heather Dillashaw, Director of the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative, says the APD’s participation and outreach is a major factor in reducing chronic homelessness in Asheville from 293 identified in 2005 to 47 by the beginning of 2013, an 84% drop.
“It has absolutely made a huge difference,” Dillashaw says. “We certainly would not have made this kind of headway without the APD’s work early on. Their experience provided us with information on who among the homeless community were drawing on our public safety resources, so we knew where to focus our efforts.”
In tandem with the policy’s adoption, officers have also been undergoing Crisis Intervention Training, an approach to interacting one-on-one in crisis situations. CIT was developed in order to find constructive ways to approach and assist people in mental or emotional crisis. Like the homelessness policy, it seeks to establish relationships and find solutions rather than put people in jail. And despite its primary role, the training has proven a valuable tool when approaching people experiencing homelessness or in other interactions with the public. “People in these situations don’t necessarily have a mental issue,” Stepp said. “But there is often tension when you go into a camp and this helps us establish that we are there to help, and are not there as adversaries.”
Information about resources available to people experiencing homelessness can be found by calling 828-259-5851 or online here.
May 9, 2014
The City of Asheville is looking for applicants to participate in this year’s Volunteer Handicapped Parking Enforcement Program. Each year, the City of Asheville Police Department trains volunteers how to write citations and warnings to drivers who park illegally in handicapped spaces. The program has been a great success for the city over the years in both educating and enforcing handicapped parking space laws.
Out of 900 plus handicapped parking citations written in 2013, approximately 80% of those were written by volunteers who had gone through the class.
“This is a great group of volunteers who help us out by being an extra set of eyes in parking lots,” says Parking Enforcement Supervisor Adam March. “And the numbers are proof of their effectiveness.”
The volunteers, many of whom utilize handicapped spaces themselves, are in a unique position to spot violations. Often, these are cases where handicapped placards are not displayed, placards are expired, or where drivers have parked in the striped zones around handicapped spaces. Many drivers aren’t aware that those striped zones are there to give people with wheelchairs or other mobility assistance room to exit or return to their cars.
Volunteers who go through the class are empowered to write handicapped parking citations only, and only within the City of Asheville limits and outside of the Central Business District. Participants are given a background check and signed off on by the City Manager. Volunteers who have participated in previous years and who want to continue in the program must re-attend the class.
To apply for the Volunteer Handicapped Parking Enforcement Program, contact the City of Asheville Parking Services at (828) 259-5759 or stop by 45 Wall Street to pick up an application. The class will be held Thursday May 22nd, at 45 Wall Street, and parking will be provided in the Wall Street Parking Garage. The deadline for applications is May 15th.
May 1, 2014
In a March 14 ceremony at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, the Asheville Police Department welcomed 15 police academy graduates into the ranks of its officers. The ceremony, held each year, gives families, friends, colleagues and City of Asheville employees and elected officials the chance to recognize the hard work these men and women have put in to reach this goal.
Each of the cadets completed a rigorous program that included hundreds of hours of training, physical tests, and a series of exams in order to stay in the program through graduation.
“This is a special moment for them and a special moment for us,” said Chief William Anderson. Anderson also thanked the families of the cadets, assuring them that he understood the sacrifice they make as well.
The new officers were sworn in by Asheville City Council Member Jan Davis, and were welcomed by Interim Deputy City Manager Michael Morgan. “This is a class that is made up of men and women of exceptional character,” Morgan said. “You have distinguished yourselves and I know you will continue to distinguish yourselves throughout your career.”
As is tradition, the new officers had their badges pinned on by their family members.
The 2013 Asheville Police Academy graduates are: Matthew T. Brookshire, Spencer I. Brunkhorst, Heavan L. Dunne, Chelsey M. Gettys, Ben R. Green, Prentice A. Griffin, Lara E. Lemons, Christian O. Leonbacher, Ebony L. McGee, Sarah K. McGhee, Jesse J. Ramirez, Craig F. Roberts, Lindsay M. Rose-Clark, Ethan T. Russell, and Joshua D. Veridal.
The Asheville Police Department Police Academy is a collaboration between APD and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.
March 21, 2014
Explorer Scouts participating in the Asheville Police Department’s Law Enforcement Explorer Post 57 took second place in the BSA’s annual Winterfest competition in Gatlinburg, TN, Feb. 7-9.
The Explorer Scouts participated in three competitions and won second place in the Vehicle Search Warrant Category. Approximately 3,000 Explorer Scouts take place in the event each year.
Explorer Post 57 is an arm of the Boy Scouts of America and was begun by the Asheville Police Department in 1991. The Asheville Police Department Explorer Scout post is open to young men and women ages 14-20 with an interest in law enforcement.
Law Enforcement Exploring provides educational training programs for young adults on the purpose, mission, and objectives of Law Enforcement. The program provides career orientation experiences, leadership opportunities, and community service activities. The primary goals of the program are to help young adults with an interest in a career path within law enforcement and to challenge them to become responsible citizens in their communities.
To find out more information about participating, contact Officer Keith McCulloch at 828-259-5834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 11, 2014
The City of Asheville animal control ordinance requires all resident dog owners purchase a license for every dog six months or older. The City of Asheville’s Animal Services Unit, a part of the Asheville Police Department, is in charge of making sure dogs are licensed, but there are other reasons besides the possibility of a ticket to get your dog on the record.
“Dog owners use different City resources than other residents,” says Animal Services Supervisor Brenda Sears. And those services cost the City money to operate. The City of Asheville maintains two popular dog parks, one at the French Broad River Park and one at Azalea Park. Both parks provide fenced-in, mulched, safe places for owners to let their dogs run and socialize. It’s a great resource for healthy and happy dogs and for dog owners to meet one another.
Additionally, select City of Asheville parks have bag and trash stations for dog owners to use to keep their pet’s waste cleaned up. These stations help keep the parks clean and safe for everyone, so PLEASE clean up after your dog!
One of the best reasons to get a dog license is that it may get your beloved pet home sooner if he or she escapes and runs free. Escaped, unlicensed dogs picked up by Animal Services are taken to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter and can only come home after the owner pays an impound fee. Licensed dogs can often be returned to their owners without a trip to the shelter and without the resulting extra expense. “Licenses help us get them home quicker,” Sears says.
Lastly, we all, animal owners included, benefit from the support provided by Animal Services. Loose dogs are in danger of being hit by vehicles and can be a nuisance to other dogs on leashes or their owners. They also pose a danger to motorists who may try to stop suddenly or swerve to avoid hitting a roaming pet. Animal Services is around to answer the call if a pet gets loose. Animal Services also investigates cruelty to animals, animal bites and dangerous animals which are concerns for the entire community.
In 2012, the City of Asheville contracted with the company PetData to handle dog licensing, and the company offers an easy online process for applying and paying for dog licenses. The license is only $10 for a year, but is good from January-December. So the earlier you register for a license, the better value it is!
Click here to purchase a City of Asheville dog license.
December 4, 2013