By Chad Nesbitt
Buncombe County – Although rumors have spread throughout the Sheriff’s Department there, have not been many changes in the first 40 days of Buncombe County Sheriff Quinton Miller’s administration.
Several Leicester Leader readers have asked what has been done to increase school safety?
Darlene Kiser asked, “Has the sheriff’s department increased the number of school resource officers, SROs, in the schools?”
Aaron Sarver, Communications Director for the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, said, “The 2018-2019 Fiscal Year Budget for the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office remains in place.” Sarver said, “There has been no change in the number of SROs.”
Employees at the Buncombe County Courthouse tell the Leader that former Asheville Mayors Leni Sitnick and Terry Bellamy have been seen in the halls of the sheriff’s department regularly, causing rumors that the two work for the sheriff’s office.
The Leader asked Sarver if Sitnick and Bellamy work for the sheriff’s office. Sarver said, “Leni Sitnick is not employed by the BCSO in any capacity” and, “Terry Bellamy is not employed by the BCSO in any capacity.”
Have any sheriff’s office employees been terminated since Sheriff Miller took office? Sarver said, “Since Sheriff Miller has taken office, zero employees of the BCSO have been terminated.”
According to Buncombe County’s P2C website, there have been over 1,000 arrests and incident reports filed from December 1st to January 10th. Most range from breaking and entering and drug-related charges.
The Leader has asked six Buncombe County deputies, who asked to remain anonymous, how the de-escalation of the sheriff’s office is going that Sheriff Miller campaigned on. All said they have not seen a de-escalation yet.
One deputy said, “Nothing has changed except leadership positions.” The deputy said, “We already do a lot of community outreach but you may start seeing more from what I understand.”
Sarver said, “Sheriff Miller has introduced a focus on procedural justice to the BCSO. It will be one of the core tenets of the office moving forward.”
In a quote from Sheriff Miller, “A lot of time we tell communities what they need without first asking them what they need. That has to change.”