Law enforcement in a liberal North Carolina city that cut the police budget last year will no longer respond to some crimes as officers quit in unprecedented numbers.
The Asheville Police Department (APD) on Wednesday announced a list of crimes and services they are no longer equipped to address, such as some forms of theft and assault, according to local outlet WLOS.
In a Wednesday press release, the APD explained they have lost 84 officers since January 1, 2020, which is a devastating number for a force that employs just 219 people. Response times even to crimes such as homicides have increased three minutes during peak hours, APD Chief David Zack recently said.
“There will be things that we simply cannot get to,” Zack told the Asheville City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. “We’re talking it’s taking us almost three minutes longer to get to those very serious calls.”
“Our detective unit right now is completely gassed out with the volume of serious investigations that they have to address. And we will have to triage those. Those officers are having to work extremely long hours,” Zack also said.
Since 1/1/20 APD has lost 84 officers. As a result, several changes in officer response will go into effect immediately to improve response times for emergency calls made to 911. #avlnews@WLOS_13 @asheville @wyffnews4 @WSPA7 @foxcarolinanews @SpecNews1MTN @newsradio570 pic.twitter.com/WBiSZOifFB
— Asheville Police (@AshevillePolice) June 2, 2021
“As a result of the staffing crisis, several changes in officer response will go into effect immediately in order to improve response times for emergency calls made to 911,” said Public Information Officer Christina Hallingse.
Below is a complete list of concerns to which the APD can no longer respond, according to their press release:
- Theft under $1,000 where there is no suspect information (this does not include stolen vehicles or guns)
- Theft from a vehicle where there is no suspect information
- Minimal damage and/or graffiti to property where there is no suspect information
- Non-life-threatening harassing phone calls (does not include incidents that are related to domestic violence and/or stalking)
- Fraud, scams, or identity theft
- Simple assaults that are reported after they have occurred
- Reports that do not require immediate police actions and/or enforcement (information only reports)
- Funeral escorts
- Lost/found property
- Trespassing where the property owner does not want to press charges
Noise complaints can expect a delayed response time, the APD added.
David Rhode, a resident of downtown Asheville, told WLOS he is not surprised at the news, given how the APD have been treated during the past year. “When it comes to the crimes that are no longer being responded to, what does the city of Asheville expect when you’ve created an environment that is not conducive to human resources?” he said. “Would you want to be in a job that didn’t appreciate you?”
Asheville is a very liberal city with a population of about 90,000 in the otherwise mostly conservative western part of North Carolina. In the wake of George Floyd’s death last summer, APD officers decked out in riot gear engaged in an hours-long standoff with protesters on one of the major thoroughfares leading into the city, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
Amid calls from far-left activists to defund APD by half, the Asheville City Council voted 5-2 last September to cut their budget by 3%.
As The Daily Wire reported, an APD officer explained in an August 21 email he sent to neighborhood groups he worked with that he was moving to Colorado to begin a new career because his law enforcement job “has taken a toll on my personal life.”
“After ten years at APD, I can say confidently that APD officers are good people with good hearts,” the officer wrote. “Evil is real. Evil exists in Asheville, officers are surrounded by it, and they do their best with what they have. Please remember that.”