Former Asheville police chief rips City Council for handling of Police Department scandal

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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apdbadgeFormer Asheville Police Chief Will Annarino lets it rip in an email to Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy as he expresses his opinion on City Council’s handling of the latest police scandal. On Thursday, Bellamy and her fellow council members came out generally in support for police Chief William Anderson, who has been under fire for months regarding an incident involving his son. Annarino was a patrol officer who worked his way up to become chief, and while he rubbed some the wrong way, he was, and still is, well respected for his work. I think his letter sums up the way a lot of the current rank-and-file feel.

You can read the background. Here’s Annarino:

From: Will Annarino
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:18 PM
Subject: Comments made to the media on on July 10, 2013

Shame on you Ms. Bellemy. I have received many, e-mails and calls today in reference to comments you made at a news conference yesterday about the APD while I was Chief of Police. Personally I take your comments recognizing where they are coming from but I am appalled and saddened that in your misguided efforts to justify past hiring decisions you have chosen to drag the agency I worked for down with you. I cannot answer for Bill Hogan nor for what occurred on his watch but I will certainly defend the dept against your comments while I was Chief of Police.
Employees of APD and who I proudly served with were the most professional people I have ever been associated with. The Dept was not perfect by any means but no one could say that The dept ever covered anything up or failed to act on any allegations of police misconduct. In fact, most issues getting media coverage were issues brought to light by the dept’s own employee’s and/or supervisors and/ or mgt and not by the public in general.
The organizational cultural at that time was sound and employees were committed to their work and community. Relations were good in the community and the dept’s reputation across the state was outstanding. Many other agencies wanted to be like APD and probably till this day many still have policies, procedures or programs molded after Asheville.
Employees from the chief down were involved with agencies from across the state in their hiring processes, promotional processes, training their employees, consulting on policy and procedures and many other things -point being other agencies wanted APD’s input and insight.
Unless your head was in the sand back then you may recall that APD employee efforts led to the Asheville Police Department obtaining national accreditation at a time when only 3% of all Law Enforcement Agencies in the Country were Nationally Accredited.
The dept was one of the first to establish Police Community Resource Centers in a successful effort to bring the police and community even closer together and by 2004 the dept had 7 centers-all supported and funded in part by community volunteers. .
The Dept’s Community Policing efforts were recognized by the N.C Department of Crime Control and Public safety as a model for other agencies to follow and in fact the dept received well more than a half million dollars in grant money to support these efforts.
APD was recognized by the International Association of Chief’s of Police ( an organization consisting of more than 17,000 police chief’s from around the world) at their National meeting as a model Community Policing Agency and received both national and international recognition for leading the way toward better police community relations. I even had the honor to present a program on Community Oriented Government at the 2002 national conference.
The dept’s joint effort with the city in developing the concept of Community Oriented Government was copied state wide by other cities. Again unless your head was in the sand you will recall the police dept’s and City’s joint endeavor to expand community policing to include all city dept’s in being more responsive to community concerns. This included on-going community meetings on a set schedule with all depts. present and not just police, and community walks with residents to identify pressing issues with reps from all city depts. on hand to listen and give direction-even though I do not recall you ever participating in any of the community walks.
Toward the dept’s. goals in Continuous Quality Improvement APD was the 1st in N.C. including Raleigh and Charlotte to establish college degree requirements for hiring and promotion with all mid -level positions requiring a minimum 4 year degree. Most all top level positions had command staff with a masters degree. No other agency in the state even came close to these requirements.
Mandatory advanced management training was required of all supervisors and top managers that included at least one 3 month management academy. All top command were graduates of the FBI National academy as well.
From 1993 till 2003 due in large part to the depts. relations with the community and the trust developed complaints of employee misconduct were dramatically reduced and only one lawsuit was brought against the dept and was later dismissed. Can you claim that same record over the past 10 years? No more than 3 civil service appeals were heard ref APD employees and no APD disciplinary actions were overturned. Can that be said of the last 10 years?
I could go on for quite some time pointing out the accomplishments of APD prior to the last two administrations and your time as Mayor. Suffice it to say, many fine hard working employees put their hearts and souls into making APD the finest in the state only to see many of it’s innovations and accomplishments fall by the way side as it suffers thru incompetent and ineffectual leadership -both in city hall and APD. . Employees deserve better. The community deserves better.
I have not yet decided weather I will appear at the July 23 council meeting to ask you to present facts to support the derogatory comments you made during your news conf. I have had many advise me to do so to call you to task on your irresponsible comments.
I am going to closed with something retired Sgt Mike Hahn e-mailed me today in response to your comments:
“It is easy to throw around words like integrity and honor and truthfulness without applying them to ones own actions as it appears is the case in this matter.”
By the way please do not bother to respond as you have nothing to say that I wish to hear.
Will Annarino
Chief of Police

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Dianty July 14, 2013

    You should let me be city manager. I’ll fix this mess.

    1. Shorty July 15, 2013

      Maybe we would if we could find you.

    2. Dianty July 15, 2013

      Hey dude, yer swerving! Please! Let Me Drive!!!

  2. Shorty July 13, 2013

    I used to believe that Jan Davis was the only one of those monkeys who had any sense. Now I know that none of them do.

  3. indie July 13, 2013

    With an incompetent city manager, who runs the city to avoid sticking his neck out, and a woeful city council, what do you expect? You know Wilke was pressured to cover this up and the authority figures let it slide. They make the Keystone Cops look competent.

  4. DB July 13, 2013

    Scratch the surface and you’ll see that Asheville is as crooked as Chicago.

    1. Yeppers July 13, 2013

      Yes, and the crookedness has the best cover: ‘happy green mountain town’ BS.

      Clean it up, people!

  5. Mister Mac July 12, 2013

    The Chief’s son’s attorney in this messy matter, who I bet was retained by the Chief, has now subpenaed the police officer who called into question the actions of his boss, the Police Chief. So, it looks as if the Chief is paying an attorney to run one of his employees under the wringer for doing the right thing. Which means more divisiveness in the force, and this officer will be forced to retain an attorney, who will likely sling some mud back.
    It seems that each day this gets more and more ugly and divisive. The City needs to bring this to an end and ask the Chief to resign.

    1. Murphy July 13, 2013

      The Chief resigning will not undo Federal lawsuits filed by at least 3 current members of the APD.

  6. avlbred July 12, 2013

    Really? Out of all that, all you saw was spelling/grammar errors? Well liberal Asheville, you’ve done your job. People no longer look for the meat of the story. It’s much more beneficial for them to peer-edit it! Unreal! Just sit back and watch as the town crumbles around us due to corruption. Hopefully everyone can spell though!
    Lets all remember how fast BELLAMY was to throw people under the bus when she runs for “higher” office! And remember all these “Closed door meetings” that lead to unsupported decisions!

  7. headhunter July 12, 2013

    Looks like this sh%@ just got real…….

  8. AVLMTL July 12, 2013

    A letter that includes such egregious spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors does not reflect well on its writer.

    For example:

    many, e-mails
    The dept ever covered
    dept’s own employee’s
    till this day
    Law Enforcement Agencies in the Country
    volunteers. .
    Suffice it to say
    it’s innovations
    weather I will appear
    I am going to closed

    1. Sean July 12, 2013

      Yes. Let’s focus on the errors and ignore the message.

      1. Big Al July 12, 2013

        After all, he wrote this 1) in anger, 2) after 10pm, and 3) immediately following PUBLIC allegations that today’s problems are somehow the fault of his administration TWO CHIEFS BACK. I would be hot (and sleep-deprived)enough to miz-spell a few words too!

      2. AVLMTL July 13, 2013

        Guess what? I can focus on more than one thing at a time. Shocking!

        1. The Blunder Years July 13, 2013

          Fucking grammar police, get over yourself…

  9. Hal July 12, 2013

    I need to start sending emails to my former employers or anyone else I don’t like by telling them off, being passive agressive and letting them know not to respond because I won’t listen anyway.

    Merry Christmas, former employee!

    1. Sean July 12, 2013

      If your former employers dragged your name into such a fiasco publicly, I’d forgive you for writing just about anything.

      1. Hal July 12, 2013

        Or I’d ignore it


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