Filed under: Police

APD recognizes achievements at annual banquet

ASHEVILLE – On the evening of 3-01-12, the City of Asheville Police Department held its annual Awards Banquet to celebrate the many achievements of the department from the previous year.

Asheville’s own local celebrity Harry Anderson, (from TV’s Night Court and Dave’s World), very graciously and hilariously provided the evenings entertainment and expertly shepherded the award recipients through the night’s festivities.

Among the many receiving awards this year:

Sgt. Ernie Welborn: Officer of the Year

Sgt. Ernie Welborn, a 27 year veteran of the department, constantly proves himself to be a valuable asset to both the police department and the City of Asheville. Ernie began his career in 1985 and has served the department as a Patrol Officer, K9 Handler, Forensic Technician, Detective, and Detective Sergeant.

He has assisted or led thousands of case investigations ranging from homicides, rapes, assaults, frauds, and theft. Sgt. Welborn is known around the office for his technical computer skills, and has the reputation for being able to find just about anything on anyone electronically. These skills have aided in the apprehension of countless numbers of wanted and missing persons.

Sgt. Welborn has done a great deal of research for APD in preparing our agency for electronic reporting of pawned items, commonly referred to as “Leads Online”. If enacted, this ordinance will assist APD in locating stolen property much quicker, and hopefully apprehending thieves.

He has researched and outlined the necessary technical specifications of a proposed interview room and camera system for the Investigations Division that once installed will enable better recording of suspect interviews.

Sgt. Welborn has spent a great deal of time and work coordinating with the District Attorney’s Office and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in moving the department forward with electronic DA Papering. This program is still in a pilot phase with Asheville being one of a handful of departments across NC participating. Once fully enacted, this undoubtedly will save thousands of dollars per year in paper and personnel costs to our agency.

In the 2011 calendar year, Sgt. Welborn has assigned and/or closed over 6,700 cases and 5,600 detective case supplements.

Chief Anderson and the men and women of the Asheville Police Department are very proud of Sgt. Welborn’s achievements as an Asheville Police Officer and for his excellent service to the community and the City of Asheville.

Nancy Carlson: Volunteer of the Year

Ms. Carlson has been volunteering for the Asheville Police Department for nearly 18 years traveling from Transylvania County once a week to volunteer in Victim Services.

Karla Reed: Volunteer of the Year

Ms. Reed has been volunteering with the Departments Emergency Response Team for 17 years as the units Paramedic. Before retiring from Buncombe County EMS, she would burn holiday or vacation time to train with the team. She is the team’s longest serving member.

Grey Clough: Explorer of the Year

Mr. Clough is an Asheville High School student who joined the Explorer Post in 2010.
He has shown his dedication to the Post by volunteering to assist at such events as the Christmas Parade, Bele Chere, and meeting and sharing with youth students at the Reid Center. He is an informal leader to newer members and was a member of the team that won first place in Felony Vehicle Stops, at the Winterfest Competition in Gatlinburg, TN.

Sgt. Don Eberhardt: Chaplains Award

Sgt. Eberhardt, a 12 veteran of the department, was awarded the Chaplains award for his continued support and dedication to this all volunteer unit of civilian chaplains. Chaplain’s duties include counseling, crisis response, visiting sick or injured officers and their families, and providing assistance with death notifications.

Barbara Brank: Civilian Employee of the Year

Barbara is a 20 year veteran employee of the department and is currently assigned to the Central Records Unit. In a job that demands excellent customer service skills, Barbara always rises to the challenges and demands of her job. Her work ethic is second to none and in the past year has taken more than 49% (over 600) of the reports taken by the Central Records Unit. This is a count unmatched by most, if not all, of the officers of the department.

Leave a Comment March 16, 2012

APD issues Amber Alert

UPDATE – APD cancels Amber Alert – Child Safe.
Asheville – Asheville Police issued an Amber Alert on Wednesday afternoon for 2 year old Amayei Collington, Amayei was taken by his father Durrell Marquise Norris, Norris is operating a 2011 Silver Dodge Charger with Alabama Tags 58J66A2.  Norris is believed to be Suicidal and possibly armed with a firearm.  Norris also has outstanding warrants in Asheville for Communicating threats and assault on a female and an unserved civil notice for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (50-B).  Norris has made threats of suicide if approached by police.   Last seen in the East Asheville area this date.  It is believed that Norris is still in the Asheville area,  If located do not approach, call 911, or *HP immediately.

Leave a Comment February 15, 2012

APD promotes newest sergeant

ASHEVILLE – The Asheville Police Department on Friday celebrated the promotion of Scott C. Pruett to the rank of sergeant.

Pruett has served at APD since 1992. He had previously been a member of the high-profile Traffic Safety Unit, where he eventually led as acting sergeant for several months before assuming acting supervisor duties in the Patrol Division.  He is also a member of the department’s Motorcycle Unit.

Pruett will now supervise a team of day-shift officers in West Asheville.

Interim Chief Wade Wood said he was honored to promote Pruett, with whom he has worked since their early days at APD.

“I wish you the best,” Wood said.

Pruett said he was very moved by the turnout of people to share in his promotion – among them family, co-workers and colleagues from other agencies.

“I am grateful to each and every one of you,” he said.

Scott Pruett takes his oath to become an Asheville police sergeant. His wife Tera holds the Bible, as their son Sean looks on.

Sgt. Scott Pruett's wife Tera pins on his APD sergeant badge at his Oct. 7 promotion ceremony.

APD Interim Chief Wade Wood congratulates Sgt. Scott Pruett on his promotion at a ceremony held Oct. 7.

APD Interim Chief Wade Wood congratulates Sgt. Scott Pruett on his promotion.[/caption]

Leave a Comment October 10, 2011

APD takes on SHP in charity football game

UPDATED: 10/3, 3:30 p.m.:

Due to a last-minute scheduling conflict, Rep. Heath Shuler will be unavailable for Sunday’s game. An updated date and time for the game will be released as soon as possible.

ASHEVILLE – At 2 p.m. on Oct. 9, employees of the Asheville Police Department and the N.C. Highway Patrol will face off at T.C. Roberson High School in their third annual flag football game to raise money for Eblen Charities.

Celebrity quarterbacks Brad Johnson and Heath Shuler will steer the teams, with Johnson leading APD and Shuler leading the Highway Patrol.

Tickets are $3.

All proceeds will benefit Eblen, a community organization that helps thousands of families in Western North Carolina meet their medical and emergency assistance needs.

For more information about Eblen Charities, visit:

APD quarterback Brad Johnson directs an officer during the 2010 APD-SHP charity game to raise money for Eblen Charities. The teams will face off again on Sunday.

Heath Shuler volunteered his expertise as a quarterback to lead the Highway Patrol in last year's charity game against APD. The teams came together to raise money for Eblen Charities.

Leave a Comment October 3, 2011

Community marks 10 years since 9/11

ASHEVILLE – Members of the Asheville community, city leaders and staff on Sunday gathered to observe the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The ceremony was led by the Asheville Fire Department and was held in the Ferguson Auditorium of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

Officials say the total number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks was 2,819. The number of firefighters and paramedics killed was 343. Twenty-three New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers were also killed.

Some 3,051 children lost a parent that day.

To date, some $1.4 billion has been donated to 9/11 focused charities.

Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette shared his feelings about the somber occasion in an editorial that ran Sunday in the Asheville Citizen-Times as part of the newspaper’s anniversary coverage:

“The attention and focus that firefighters receive during this time is often awkward for us. Firefighters do not consider themselves heroic. As firefighters we know that we are human, fallible and vulnerable. We strive every day to live up to the honor the public places upon us, and we carry a heavy burden to not let the public or our fellow firefighters down. We spend a lot of time trying to understand this paradox.

“Although we do not consider ourselves heroes, our heroes are firefighters. The 343 firefighters who died on 9/11 are our heroes.  Capt. Bowen [who died in the line of duty in Asheville on July 28] is our hero.

“We take great honor in participating in recognizing these heroes for what they stand for and who they are…”

Attendees of the ceremony take a moment to honor Asheville Fire Department Capt. Jeff Bowen, who was killed in the line of duty on July 28.

Community members gathered at A-B Tech to mark 10 years since 9/11.

An Asheville firefighter looks over the ceremony program.

See more photos of the ceremony at

Leave a Comment September 12, 2011

APD hosts softball tourney to benefit Fallen Firefighters Fund, Special Olympics

ASHEVILLE – The Asheville Police Department hosted the 2011 BadgeBall softball tournament Aug. 13-14 to raise money for the Fallen Firefighters Fund and North Carolina Special Olympics.

Games were played the first day at Jackson Park in Henderson County, and the championship games were Sunday at McCormick Field in Asheville.

The team from Henderson County took the overall win, with the Charlotte Fire Department taking runner up.

Proceeds from food went to a fund set up by the Asheville Fire Department and Mission Health System to assist the family of Capt. Jeff Bowen, who was killed in the line of duty July 28. The fund also assists families of firefighters who were injured that day.

The Charlotte Fire Department team was the runner up in Badgeball 2011.

In addition, the participating teams’ tournament fees will go to North Carolina Special Olympics, whose mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The Asheville Police Department took on host duties for the benefit tournament.

To learn more about the Fallen Firefighters fund, visit

To learn more about N.C. Special Olympics, visit

APD Sgt. Jonathan Brown, team captain, heads back to the dugout with teammate Chris Hess, from the Buncombe County District Attorney's Office.

Players from the N.C. SBI team take a quick break from play.

Leave a Comment August 15, 2011

Ceremonies honor retirement of APD Chief William Hogan and swearing in of Capt. Wade Wood

Wood and Hogan1

A May 12 ceremony in the Asheville Civic Center banquet hall honored Asheville Police Chief William Hogan in recognition of his years of service. Hogan, who announced his retirement from the department in April, had a 36-year career in law enforcement. He served as Chief of the APD for seven years.

“It has been an honor to serve with the professional and dedicated men and women of the Asheville police department,” Hogan said. “I have the utmost confidence in the level of service they will continue to provide to the citizens of Asheville.”

That same day, in a separate ceremony, APD Captain Wade Wood was sworn in as interim police chief. Wade, who has 19 years’ experience with the APD, will serve in the role while the selection process for a new chief is underway.

“We are fortunate to have someone with such a strong and proven track record in police administration ready to take the helm,” said Asheville City Manager Gary Jackson. “Captain Wood is exceptionally well prepared to step into the interim chief role while we proceed with a national recruitment effort to permanently fill the position.”

Below are pictures from Hogan’s retirement recognition and Woods’ swearing in ceremony.
Bellamy and Hogan
Richardson, Hogan, Daniel
Jackson and Wood
Wood and Hogan2
Wood and Burleson

Leave a Comment May 20, 2011

Asheville Police Academy Graduates 22 Cadets

On April 29, the Asheville Police Department, City of Asheville officials, friends, and family members gathered to recognize the graduation of 22 cadets from the Asheville Police Academy. The department’s newest officers were sworn in and received their badges in a ceremony held at A-B Tech’s Ferguson Auditorium.

“Congratulations to each of you. We are proud of each and every one of you,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy. “Thanks also to your friends and families for their support.”

Aapd Academy Graduation 2011PD Chief Bill Hogan and City Manager Gary Jackson also had words of thanks and praise for the cadets, who put in 1,000 hours of work alongside volunteer time to complete the APD’s academy.

“Congratulations,” Hogan said. “You put a lot of long hours getting through this program.”

“You took the challenge and you measured up,” Jackson said. “We hope and pray for your well being, because you are the ones who put your safety on the line every day.”

The ceremony was led by academy instructor Lt. Gary Gudac, and badges were pinned by loved ones in attendance. The officers were sworn in by Asheville City Council member Jan Davis.

Bellamy at APD grad 2011Mayor Bellamy also appealed to the new graduates to uphold the level of community interaction undertaken by the Asheville Police Department.

“It is incumbent upon you to engage with citizens and represent not only the department but the community as a whole,” Bellamy said.

The most recent graduates of the Asheville Police Academy are:

Joshua T. Andrews                                                                       Toby R. Braswell
Noland C. Brown                                                                           David V. Bruchon
Brad A. Butterfield                                                                         Kevin W. Creasman
Ismael DelRosario                                                                        Travis J. Edwards
James E. French                                                                           Nathaniel D. Gearles
Brian P. Hernandez                                                                      Kendrick T. Johnson
Lucas L. Lovelace                                                                         Abraham Mata
Jefferson D. May                                                                           Jenna M. Mellon
Dane R. Onderdonk                                                                     Stephen E. Pinkerton
Daniel G. Simpson                                                                       Allen R. Snedeker
William R. Vanderberg                                                                Rayleon Ward

APD colorguard
APD graduates
APD grad
Lt. Gudac
APD grads

3 Comments May 2, 2011

Asheville Police Department recognizes service at awards ceremony

The Asheville Police Department recognized the exemplary service of officers, employees and volunteers at it annual awards banquet, held March 31 at the Crest Mountain Pavilion.

APD officer of the year

APD Officer of the Year Sonia Escobedo (right).

The event highlights achievements of individuals within the force, touching on instances where the actions of APD officers intervened in criminal or potentially hazardous situations. Some of those, noted APD Chief Bill Hogan, were high profile cases covered in the media and others were not as well known. Regardless of the exposure, Hogan said that these members of the department had provided an invaluable service to the Asheville Community.

“This is a special opportunity to recognize the men and women of this department,” Hogan said. “Whether you are here tonight as an officer or an employee of this organization, thank you for providing the dedicated professional service that you do.”

Harry Anderson at the APD awards

Star of television's Night Court and Asheville resident Harry Anderson presiding over the ceremony.

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Asheville resident Harry Anderson, star of the hit television show “Night Court” and renown comedian and magician. Anderson kept the evening full of laughs, but also spoke about his respect for the men and women of the police department.

“You guys are extraordinary individually and extraordinary as a group,” Anderson said. “My admiration for what you do mounts on a daily basis.”

Asheville native and “American Idol” contender Caleb Johnson opened the ceremony by singing the national anthem.

Award winners included:
Volunteer of the Year: Sarah McDevitt
Chaplain’s Award to: Lt. Rae Ferguson
Explorer of the Year: Myjenta Spivey
Employee of the Year: Christine Devico (non sworn)
Officer of the Year: Sonia Escobedo

Click the images below to see the officers recognized at the 2011 APD awards banquet.

APD awards 2011 original2APD awards 2011
Click here to see the APD press release.

Caleb Hogan

See more photos of the APD awards banquet at the City of Asheville’s Flickr site.

Leave a Comment April 4, 2011

APD drop box offers place to safely discard unwanted prescriptions

An increasing awareness of the concerns surrounding the disposal of prescription drugs has spurred a local effort to provide Asheville and Buncombe County residents with a safe place to deposit unwanted medicine.
APD Badge

To handle the growing need, the APD has set up its own secure prescription drop box in the department for use by residents looking for a way to get rid of medication.

Leaving expired prescriptions around the house can pose a health risk if mistakenly ingested, and parents are increasingly diligent to keep drugs out of children’s hands. Meanwhile, throwing medicine away leaves them vulnerable to animals or even humans sorting through trash. And more and more people are getting the word that flushing prescriptions down the toilet has the potential to contaminate water sources.

Detective Tammy Bryson of the APD’s Criminal Drug Unit says a large number of requests from the community made it apparent that such a program was needed locally. “People were calling in once or twice a week saying, what do I do with them?” Bryson says. “Officers were running out to get them.”

The APD and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office have participated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation to host regular Operation Medicine Drop events like the one on Saturday, March 26, and over the past year, Bryson says, both departments have worked to establish a pick-up program for residents calling in. Even then, picking up and disposing of prescription medicine required the approval of the DEA and a federally-approved method of safe destruction. And as the program progressed, demand grew high enough that the department saw a need for its own drop off location.

APD prescription drop box“People are more aware of the risks of keeping meds around and the hazards of disposing of them improperly,” Bryson says. “If we get prescriptions out of the house and get them destroyed, it reduces the chances of something like that happening.”

“The best way to prevent the potential for tragedy from accidental poisoning is to remove the risk from the environment,” says APD Chief Bill Hogan. “The drop-box located at APD is a way we can offer a secure, convenient method of disposal for our citizens. This is an on-going effort to keep our children and our community safe.”

The box is located on the lower level of the municipal building inside the door marked Property Management on South Spruce Street and is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday though Friday. The drop box is only available to members of the public, not for commercial use and only prescription medication can be accepted, not medical waste or needles.

Prescriptions dropped off at the location are properly destroyed and disposed of by the department’s Evidence Management Section.

For more information about the medicine drop box, contact Det. Tammy Bryson at (828) 250-4628. For information on the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office’s own drop box, contact Lt. Randy Sorrells at (828) 250-4473. 

Leave a Comment March 31, 2011

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