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Downtown activists ask city to handle crime, safety
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 22:12
By JOHN NORTH
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Two women said they are organizing downtown Asheville residents and property-owners to address concerns about danger lurking (ever increasingly, in their view) in the city’s core urban area  — and that something needs to be done about about it pronto — during a presentation at a breakfast meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners on Sept. 6.

About 70 people — including several elected officials — attended the monthly CIBO issues meeting in UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center.

CIBO President N.E. “Buzzy” Cannady III, who also serves as its emcee, opened the meeting by noting that, “initially, we invited (new Asheville Police Chief) Chris Bailey to introduce himself” at the meeting, “but he had a last-minute appointment, so we will have him next month.” (However, a few days later, on Sept. 11, the City of Asheville announced that Bailey was resigning “for personal reasons,” effective Sept. 27.)

Instead of introducing Bailey as the featured speaker, Cannady then introduced Sheila Surrett and Kristie Quinn,who are both downtown Asheville residents and property owners who are spearheading an effort to clean up the area. Their presentation — as noted on CIBO’s agenda — was on “crime, safety, cleanliness, drugs, and homeless issues facing downtown – Is downtown at a tipping point and, if so, what can be done about it?”

Quinn, who spoke first, said, “As the town grows, it’s gotten to the point where it needs our attention. As we’ve all heard ‘stories,’ we’ve heard from everyone.... Drugs... A lot of crimes... The homeless issue... These are problems that need to be tackled as a group. 

“The City of Asheville can do things, but they can’t do it all by themselves…. The police dep artment really needs our support, but a lot of times they don’t have have the authority to do” what needs to be done to resolve the problems, Quinn lamented.

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After 2 months, Asheville police chief resigns; questions arise on felony
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 22:08

From Staff Reports

 

Asheville Police Chief Chris Bailey, who was named to the post in June and began his new job on July 26, recently announced his plans to resign for “personal reasons,” effective Sept. 27.

A new police chief is expected to be named by December and begin work by late January, the city announced in a Sept. 23 news release.

In the interim, retired Chief Robert C. White has been hired to serve as interim city police chief, beginning Oct. 1. White has more than 40 years’ experience in law enforcement. In the brief period between Bailey’s departure and White’s arrival, APD deputy chiefs Wade Wood and James “Jim” Baumstark ran the APD.

“Asheville officials and Bailey cited ‘personal reasons’ for his departure, but a 15-year-old criminal incident has been unearthed that could have potentially cost Bailey the job, according to North Carolina Department of Justice rules,” the Asheville Citizen Times reported on Sept. 24. “City officials maintain that it is not related to the resignation.”

Recruiters for the Police Executive Research Forum are seeking new chief candidates, the city release noted.

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