Professional Standards

Each year, Asheville's police officers have thousands of contacts with people who live, work or travel to the City of Asheville. In some cases, individuals may question why an incident was handled in a particular way, they may wish to acknowledge the employees involved, or they may disagree with the actions of a department employee. Public confidence in the criminal justice system depends, to a large extent, on the trust that people have in their law enforcement officers. For that reason, the Asheville Police Department takes citizen questions, concerns and compliments seriously.

OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

The Office of Professional Standards reports directly to the Chief of Police and is responsible for monitoring police conduct, investigating allegations of serious misconduct and conducting other investigations at the direction of the Chief of Police. The Office of Professional Standards is necessary to continuously ensure the department's credibility and effectiveness as a law enforcement agency.

Review the department's 2016 Internal Affairs Statistical Summaries.

COMMENDING AN EMPLOYEE

When you receive service that you feel is worthy of a commendation, let us know! You may call Janet Lampkin (828-259-5813) or email (jlampkin@ashevillenc.gov) in Police Administration, to pass on this information. When contacting the police department, include all the information you can remember about the outstanding service. The employee will be notified of your commendation as will his/her supervisor and a copy will also be placed in his/her employee file.

SUBMITTING A COMPLAINT

If you feel you have been treated improperly by a police department employee, or have concerns over the handling of an incident, you may submit a complaint to the department by doing any of the following:

  • Contact an on-duty supervisor 24 hours a day at 828-252-1110. A complaint may be made in-person or over the phone.
  • Contact the Office of Professional Standards during business hours at 828-259-5907.
  • Email: professionalstandards@ashevillenc.gov.
  • Fill out a Citizen Complaint Form and return in-person, by mail, email or fax.

Please include as much information as possible, including the name of the police department employee(s) involved and any witnesses. Anonymous complaints are accepted. When a complaint is received, the Office Professional Standards sends a letter to confirm the complaint has been received and assigned for investigation.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
The Asheville Police Department understands and takes seriously all allegations of misconduct. The trust of our community is built upon confidence that officers will be held responsible for their actions. It is the policy of the Asheville Police Department to investigate all reports of employee misconduct, including anonymous complaints. 

INVESTIGATIVE PROCESS

Usually only the most serious complaints are investigated by the Office of Professional Standards. Less-serious investigations are typically assigned to the employee's immediate supervisor. During the investigation process you may be asked to do the following:

  • Provide additional statements
  • Participate in a recorded interview by the investigator
  • Provide records, photographs or other documents

The investigator will collect other information related to the case, including interviewing all available witnesses. 

INVESTIGATION TIMELINE

Most investigations will be completed within 60 calendar days. In some cases, the investigation may take longer. If this does occur, you (the complainant) will be notified of the delay.

INVESTIGATION OUTCOMES

Once an investigation is complete, the findings are reviewed by the Asheville Police Department's Executive Command Staff and the Office of Professional Standards. If the allegation is true, supervisors may recommend corrective action, which may include discipline, training or other measures.

You (the complainant) will be notified in writing once the investigation is complete.Due to North Carolina General Statues regarding personnel records, information which can be released about the final outcome of a complaint or specific disciplinary actions may be limited. 

INVESTIGATION DISPOSITIONS

The final outcome of an investigation is classified one of five ways. This disposition may be listed on your notification.

  • Unfounded - the allegation is demonstrably false or not factual.
  • Exonerated - the incident occurred but was lawful and/or proper.
  • Not Sustained - there is insufficient evidence either to prove or disprove the allegation.
  • Sustained - the allegation is support by sufficient evidence.
  • Policy Failure - the allegation is true and the action of the employee was within existing policy. The policy requires review or modification.

COMMENDING AN EMPLOYEE

When you receive service that you feel is worthy of a commendation, let us know! You may call Janet Lampkin (828-259-5813) or email (jlampkin@ashevillenc.gov) in Police Administration, to pass on this information. When contacting the police department, include all the information you can remember about the outstanding service. The employee will be notified of your commendation as will his/her supervisor and a copy will also be placed in his/her employee file.

REQUESTS TO VIEW BODY WORN CAMERA FOOTAGE

North Carolina General Statute 132-1.4 governs the maintenance and disclosure of footage captured by law enforcement body-worn cameras within the state. The statute dictates that a person requesting the disclosure of a record must make a written request to the head of the law enforcement agency stating the date and approximate time of the activity captured in the recording, or otherwise identify the activity with reasonable particularity sufficient to identify the recording to which the request refers. At the Asheville Police Department, Chief Hooper or her designee may disclose a recording to the following:

  1. A person whose image or voice is in the recording.
  2. A personal representative of an adult person whose image or voice is in the recording, if the adult person has consented to the disclosure.
  3. A personal representative of a minor or of an adult person under lawful guardianship whose image or voice is in the recording.
  4. A personal representative of a deceased person whose image or voice is in the recording.
  5. A personal representative of an adult person who is incapacitated and unable to provide consent to disclosure. When disclosing the recording, the law enforcement agency shall disclose only those portions of the recording that are relevant to the person's request. A person who receives disclosure pursuant to this subsection shall not record or copy the recording. 

If you would like to request to view body worn camera footage please fill out the Citizen Request to View Body Worn Camera Footage form and return to the department. 

Asheville Police Department Body Worn Camera Policy

CONTACT INFORMATION
For additional information or questions regarding submitting a commendation or complaint on an Asheville Police Department employee please contact:
Office of Professional Standards
Phone: 828-259-5907
Fax: 828-250-8856
Mailing Address: PO Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802
professionalstandards@ashevillenc.gov

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