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Buncombe OKs $56K for deputies’ overtime to patrol downtown Asheville after Miller-Lamb reach agreement
Sunday, 04 February 2024 18:13

From Staff Reports

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 16 approved $56,000 to pay overtime for sheriff’s deputies to launch another patrol initiative that began Jan. 26 in downtown Asheville.

“The program follows a summer program intended to suplement Asheville police patrols during the department’s ongoing staff shortage,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported on Jan. 17.

The proposal seeking the funding was presented to the commissioners by Sheriff Quintin Miller on Jan. 16.

Meanwhile, the TV station quoted Suzi Israel, who lives in downtown and works in the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, “In the summer, when they did these patrols, I found it really reassuring.”

Also, the station quoted Andrew Celwyn, co-owner of Herbiary on North Market Street (in downtown Asheville), as saying, “I think it’s great having Sheriff Miller work with interim (APD) Chief (Mike) Lamb. They’ve known each other for many years.”

The TV station added, “An incident that happened feet from his (Celwyn’s) store about nine months ago makes Celwyn support more sustained patrols, whether it be police or deputies.

“Someone was mugged at knifepoint, and my employees are really concerned about that,” Celwyn told News 13.

Meanwhile, Miller, the sheriff, was quoted by News 13 as saying, “This is our way of supporting the city.” He added that it will be “purely a presence” and not active arrests of people.

Further, News 13 reported that “the homeless issues downtown continue to be the focus of efforts to address loitering and other nuisance crimes. The plan is for teams of two deputies to do foot patrols through June. It will be overtime work, and deputies will make $75 an hour.”

Miller’s downtown patrol initiative that was approved on Jan. 16 was for $56,000. His initial proposal for the current initiative was for $186,000.

News 13 noted that “Miller said his goal is to have the departments work together and have one police officer and one deputy in teams together downtown. But Miller said that is still being discussed. The patrols are budgeted with overtime funding through June.”

Following its story, News 13’s “comment bubble” (as of Jan. 27) included the following:

• Randito — “Why is The County Paying for this??????????????????  We need the Police Patrols, but their is No Reason the City Taxes should not pay this... I would prefer My County Tax Dollars be spent with Deputies Patrolling the County, where crime is just a Blink Away from being out of control Just Like Downtown is....”

• WindRidge — “($)188k to ($)88k to ($)55k. Just the base model, please.” 

• EarthCharge — “Cut by more than 100% from the original $188,000 requested.”

• WindRidge — “Someone was mugged at knifepoint, and my employees are really concerned about that.”

• Justathought — “More money is being spent on homeless and thugs. What are we up to now? Four or five million?”



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