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If Roney elected mayor, 60 or more APD officers might depart, FOP leader claims
Wednesday, 22 June 2022 12:40
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If City Councilwoman Kim Roney — Asheville’s top proponent for the Defund the Police movement—  is elected the city’s mayor in the Nov. 8 general election, at least 60 Asheville police officers have told reliable sources that they are seriously contemplating resigning from the city’s beleaguered police force, which remains in a “staffing crisis” because of massive turnover in the last 2-1/2 years, according to Rondell Lance, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1.

Local police officers widely regard Roney as a “far left” radical who is anti-police and anti-law enforceent, Lance told the Daily Planet during two separate telephone interviews on June 18 and 19.

Following the recent primary election, the top two vote-getters — in what was billed as a nonpartisan race — advanced to the general election for mayor, including Mayor Esther Manheimer, who finished first; followed closely by Roney. Both are Democrats.

“I don’t have verifiable proof, but I’ve heard the rumor that if Kim Roney is elected mayor of Asheville, as many as possibly 60 (APD) officers have stated that they will leave,” Lance said. “Now I have not talked to the officers personally. I don’t have first-hand knowledge. But I have talked to people (in law encorcement) who have talked to them.”

Lance added, “They (his sources) say that’s the talk up there (at the APD) — that they’re contemplating that (quitting if Roney wins) seriously.”

He reiterated that “the talk” is that “at least 60 officers have stated — or are talking about ... if Kim Roney wins, they will leave the Asheville Police Department.”

“So how reliable does Lance think ‘the talk’ he has heard might be?” the Daily Planet asked him.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, from the sources I’m hearing from, I’d say a 4 — on the low side.”

However, he quickly added, “In my opinion, I do think you’ll see an exodus” of APD officers leaving if Roney is elected mayor. “Just how large, I can’t say.” 

He then reiterated, “The rumor going around is it’ll be at least 60” APD officers leaving.

The FOP president noted that such an exodus of APD officers, given that “they’re short (of APD officers now) — and trying to rectify that” via recruitment through a consulting firm — could result in tragic consequences for a city that already has experienced a recent spike in violent crimes.

The FOP lodge that Lance leads represents 253 members, who work at 13 local law enforcement agences in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Yancey counties, he told the Daily Planet. “The majority (of his lodge’s members) are from state and local agencies (located) in Buncombe County.”

What’s more, Lance added, “I do know that they (the APD officers) are very cautious” in their thinking “that if Kim Roney gets in (elected as Asheville’s mayor), she will push that far left agenda even further.”

At that point, the FOP president noted that his remarks should not be misconstrued as saying that Manheimer, the incumbent, is a moderate or a conservative. Indeed, Lance asserted, “Now the mayor is part of that far left agenda,” too, but takes a more measured and indirect approach to oppose law and order in general — and police officers in particular.

He noted that the Buncombe Board of Commissioners, who, other than the lone Republican Commissioner Robert Pressley, seem to work in lockstop with Manheimer and Asheville City Council, recently voted to give the county’s detention officers — in a unit also suffering from a staffing crisis — “only” a $3-per-hour pay raise. Pressley had sought a higher pay increase for them, but failed to muster the votes to support his proposal.

As for the Asheville mayor’s job, “unfortunately, we don’t have any other choice than the two candidates,” Lance said. “I also know that many other law enforcement departments in North Carolina are hiring, so they (the APD officers who quit if Roney wins) could find other jobs fairly easily” elsewhere in the state.

“As much as they don’t trust the mayor, for sure they won’t trust Kim Roney,” at least concerning law enforcement issues.

“If she (Roney) gets in, then the (police) men and women will know we have someone who is the mayor who is against law and order in the city — and against law enforcement.”

In a further jab at Roney, Lance said, “She (Roney) doesn’t care about them (the police officers) personally. She cares about her (far left) ideology” more than anything.

“The mayor (Manheimer) is the same way —  it’s just that her approach is different. The mayor is more sneaky and gets things done more slowly. Roney just uses a ‘bullhorn’ approach,” the FOP president asserted.

“The Democrat mindset is the same thing, and you’re just seeing two different ways” of operating, Lance said in reference to Manheimer and Roney.

Addressing Asheville’s spike in violent crime and highly visible homelessness problem, especially, Lance said, “You look at what’s going on around town — it’s all because of the Democrats.”

“So does Lance agree with Roney and others on the far left that the police department can be trimmed significantly and those positions filled with social workers, who will — arguably — be more knowledgeable and sympathetic in working with suspects?” the Daily Planet asked. 

“That is the most ignorant, uninformed and laughable statement that the Democrats are making,” Lance retorted. “The men and women of the police department are trained by the social workers on how to handle situations.

“What Kim Roney should be saying is that ‘something is broken in that chain’ — and that the social workers need to do a better job” early on, so that their clients do not end up as suspects who have to face the police later.

“If the police have to deal with it (later), it means somebody dropped the ball (earlier). Lance said, adding that in his defense of the police, he is not necessarily criticizing social workers. He stressed that the police and social workers “work hand-in-hand” and, overall, maintain a good working relationship locally.

“The idea that law enforcement is not trained is untrue,” the FOP president asserted. “They (the police) are trained by social workers. Some officers have Critical Incident Training, taught by social workers. It’s a (tough) 40-hour class.”

As for what Lance would conceive of as the motive for the far left to advance its agenda and a narrative, he said, “They’re just trying to push their narrative against law and order in the city to where they dictate what’s done in the city.”

He then asked, rhetorically, “Who are you (Roney and other far left radicals) to ask social workers to do what’s done by police officers, given that they (the activists) have no experience” in police work?

Lance added, “I know the mayor has done a ride-along (with him, before he retired) — and I don’t know if Roney has ever done a ride-a-long” with an APD officer. (The FOP leader was complimentary of Manheimer’s behavior and attitude  during their ride-along, noting, “It went well with her. She asked good questions....”)

“If someone isn’t in law enforcement, they (suspects) are going to get right in their face (anyone besides police who responds to a call for help, such as social workers), or they’re not going to pay attention,” Lance said, “It’s very dangerous.”

Lance added, “A lot of times, when these things happen, they’ll be in people’s homes or in dangerous areas.”

He then noted that police officers at least get some attention and respect from suspects because of their uniforms, which represent authority. In turn, they (the suspects) know their limit with police officers — and know they could end up going to jail. For a social worker, the perfect environment is not dealing with someone in a high-crime environment and with people who are beligerent,” such as the aforementioned scenario that Lance described.

To the contrary, the FOP president said “they (Roney and other backers of the Defund the Polce movement) want to take law enforcement out of the equation.

“They (Roney and others on the far left) want full control of everything. To get to full control, they’ve got to tear down the (current) system to the bare minimum and rebuild it to the way it’s best, in their view.”

After a pause, Lance asserted, “Nothing new is ever said by our elected officials in Asheville,” referring to Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “They just follow the national narrative

“Their narrative is to make this country, this city into a place — they want chaos. They want us to say, ‘Lean on your government’ to take care of you. It’s all about getting rid of our constitutioinal rights and creating a culture of dependency,” where the dependent voters dependably cast their votes for the Democratic Party to take care of them.

“If you live in the City of Asheville, and you don’t vote in the next election (Nov. 8), you have no right to complain about the conditions around Asheville,” Lance said.

“With Manheimer (as mayor), it’s going to take a little longer to get this (far left) ideology out there to the public, while with Kim Roney — she will start pushing for the Defund the Police (agenda) right off the bat.”

In the Nov. 8 election, Lance said the choice for city voters is: “Do you want the far left (agenda imposed) on the day after the election (by electing Roney), or the far left mindset imposed slowly over time (by re-electing Manheimer), which would give voters a chance to find someone more conservative to run for mayor the next election?”



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