'Staffing crisis' forces Asheville police to narrow its response to some crimes, services

WTVD logo
Thursday, June 3, 2021
Staffing crisis forces Asheville PD to narrow response to some crimes
Since the beginning of 2020, the Asheville Police Department lost more than 80 officers leaving only 11 detectives -- that's less than half the staffing the department once had.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Asheville Police Department announced it would be making some major changes to what officers will be able to respond to amid a "staffing crisis."

Officials said in a Wednesday statement, starting immediately, it will no longer respond to certain crimes after the department had lost 84 officers since the beginning of 2020 leaving only 11 detectives -- that's less than half the staffing the department once had, according to ABC-affiliate WLOS.

"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," Asheville Police Chief David Zack said in a Tuesday interview.

So in order to "improve response times for emergency calls" made to the department, it will no longer be responding to the following types of crime:

  • 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

Instead, victims of those crimes are asked to use the Police to Citizen online reporting tool to file a report. Those who do not have access to the internet can call (828) 252-1110 to have an officer respond when they are available. The alternative route of reporting may still result in a "significant delay in response."