A new downtown Asheville police district is getting close to coming online, according to Capt. Gary Gudac, who updated the Asheville Downtown Commission about its progress last week.
The city is currently divided into three police patrol districts: Adam, Baker and Charlie. The new downtown district will be called David. Staffing it will require 30 officers and four sergeants, but it will bring 24-hour, 7-day-a-week police coverage to downtown.
It’s been two years since the Asheville Police Chief at the time, Tammy Hooper, proposed the new district. She cited crime statistics showing an increase in downtown crime. The plan to hire and train 15 new officers at a cost of $1 million in taxpayers’ money drew criticism on several fronts: the cost to taxpayers, concerns about over-policing and questions about the veracity of the crime stats Hooper referenced.
That debate, and eventual approval, of a new downtown Asheville police district all took place in 2017. In February 2018, leaked police body cam video showing an Asheville policeman beating and choking a man rocked the department and city officials.
The new downtown police district comes amid a round of renewed concerns expressed by some downtown business owners about increased crime in the heart of the city