Asheville's first police force was organized in 1849 and consisted of eight volunteers working under a captain. The Police Department was formally created by ordinance on November 1, 1875 and included a Chief of Police and four patrolmen. Today the department consists of 222 sworn members and 62 non-sworn employees offering full policing services to the City of Asheville. In July of 2017 City Council approved to expand police personnel to create and implement a new downtown district. In 2016 the Asheville Police Department responded to 156,101 calls for service, approximately 13,008 calls per month. 

 The Asheville Police Department is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate in employment or the provision of services based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender (including pregnancy), gender identity or expression or familial status.

We provide the highest level of police services in partnership with the community to enhance the quality of life. We provide public safety and maintain order, enforce the laws of North Carolina, uphold the United States Constitution and support National security. We adhere to the guiding principles of integrity, fairness, respect and professionalism.

Guiding Principles:

  • Integrity - honesty, compassion, trust and accountability. Police Officers have the courage to do what is morally, ethically and legally right regardless of risk.
  • Fairness  - The Police Department will treat everyone impartially without favoritism or bias.
  • Respect - The Police Department will treat everyone with dignity and courtesy without prejudice.
  • Professionalism - The Police Department will deliver quality services through cooperation, open communication and a commitment to continuous improvement.

The Chief serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the department. The department is organized into two main bureaus, the Administrative Bureau and the Operations Bureau with a Deputy Chief serving as Bureau Commander.

The Administration Bureau consists of two (2) divisions, the Special Services Division and the Administrative Services Division. These Divisions provide management, logistical, employee and support services for the Department.

The Operations Bureau oversees all direct law enforcement response, including patrol operations, the investigations division and specialty units. This includes administration of select support units, such as the Forensics and Victim Services units. The Operations Bureau consists of two divisions, the Investigations and Support Operations Division and Patrol Operations Division. The patrol division includes three districts, a downtown unit and a public housing unit.

The department is fully accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). This means the the department must follow certain standards for all functions of the department, but also including employee recruitment and selection. The Asheville Police Department is the only fully accredited agency in Western North Carolina.

All police department employees, sworn and civilian are offered the following benefits:

  • Tuition Reimbursement: funds are available for courses directly related to the duties of employment. This can include books, tuition, registration and lab fees. These funds are available on a first come, first serve basis and must be applied for through the City of Asheville.
  • Health/Dental/Life Insurance: the City currently uses Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Family members are covered at a rate comparable to other agencies. Employees can expand their coverage and obtain dental and life insurance plans at great rates.
  • Retirement: 401K match by the City, LGERS, NC Law Enforcement Supplement
  • The Asheville Police Department Incentive Program includes the following:
    • Education Bonus/Differential (sworn and civilian positions)
    • Language Bonus/Differential (sworn and civilian positions)
    • Shift Differential (sworn and civilian positions)
    • Senior Police Officer (sworn only)
    • Intermediate Certificate (sworn only)
    • Advance Certificate (sworn only)

The starting salary of new recruits is based on education level and experience. The base starting salary is $35,722.96. Upon completion of Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) and NC State Certification as a Police Officer, the salary increases to $37,531.26. For the next 3 years the salary will be raised per City Council approval. At three years of service salary is increased to Senior Police Officer at $43,240.08 (salaries are subject to change). 

The salary for civilian positions differs by position. Salary information for these positions will be available on the job posting.

The Asheville Police 
Department patrol division utilizes a modified DuPont style schedule - twelve hour day or night work shifts with every other weekend off. The shifts are non-rotating and the hours are 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

Officers are assigned to work specific geographic areas of the city (non-rotating). Hours may vary for administration or special assignment positions.

Promotional opportunities are announced and distributed in writing to sworn personnel in a promotional announcement. Promotional announcements include minimum qualifications for participation and outline of the assessment components for the respective process. The Chief of Police will determine the assessment components for each process.

The department's specialty teams and positions include: Downtown (bike) Unit, Hazardous Device Team, Emergency Response Team, Crisis (Hostage) Negotiation Team, Traffic Safety Unit, DWI Task Force, Drug Suppression Unit, Buncombe County Anti-Crime Task Force, Crowd Control Team, Motor Unit, Public Housing Unit, Major Case Unit, Special Victims Units, Community Services Unit (School and Community Resource Officers) and Canine Officers.

General requirements before application to a specialized unit requires 1-3 years as a non-probationary sworn officer with the Asheville Police Department. This may vary depending on the specialized unit or assignment.

Candidates for the position of police officer trainee must pass a physical fitness test consisting of push-ups, sit-ups, a 300 meter sprint and a 1.5 mile run. 


The POPAT is part of the North Carolina State requirements to become a certified law enforcement officer. If cadets in Basic Law Enforcement Training do not pass this physical examination they are not eligible to become an officer. 

For additional information or questions regarding employment opportunities at the Asheville Police Department please contact:
Recruitment & Career Development