Bobby L. Medford

Bobby L. Medford

Age: 61
Residence: Weaverville/North Asheville
Occupation: law enforcement
Education: graduate of Erwin High School; several years of training at the N.C. Justice Academy and A-B Tech.
Party: Republican
Political experience: Buncombe County sheriff since 1994

1. What are the pros and cons of maintaining the department’s sizeable force of auxiliary deputies?

An auxiliary deputy is a fully certified, trained and equipped officer who volunteers his/her time with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department. These are officers who do the same work as regular patrol, but are paid nothing. Their service is a testament to dedication. There is no negative to volunteers.

2. Should the department create a citizen-advisory board to address allegations of misconduct? Why?

Sheriff Morrissey created a citizen-advisory board. It is still in effect but is not utilized as often with my administration. I respond to citizen complaints personally. I meet with the public face to face. I give a complainant the option of a review board if they so desire.

3. What should the department do to improve enforcement of domestic-violence laws?

842 domestic-violence papers were served in 2005. Officers are specifically trained to understand domestic-violence laws and related issues of jurisdiction. The department must quickly respond, investigate thoroughly, offer assistance and referral to the victim, complete detailed reports, assure victim safety and charge appropriately.

4. What are your top three crime-fighting priorities?

Each crime is important to the victim of that particular crime, whatever the crime may be. Every victim of a crime is a priority, not just the crime itself.

5. What most distinguishes you from your opponent?

Experience and success of crimes solved.

6. Is the department’s ratio of administrators to patrol deputies appropriate? Why?

Yes. As sheriff, state law mandates responsibility for many areas of law enforcement. These areas include: jail operations, courthouse bailiffs and security, patrol, communications, civil process, warrants, criminal investigations, personnel and finance. I have one major and six captains to nearly 335 employees. All supervisors have their own expertise.

7. Would you shift the department’s budget priorities? How?

A priority for the budget has always been personnel.

8. What can be done to speed up the department’s response time?

There are 656 square miles of county to serve. Unavoidable factors influence response times, such as nature of call, traffic flow, weather, time of day, number of calls, distance etc. On emergency calls the department averages a respectable 11 minutes. Routine calls (barking dogs, battered mailbox) may take longer.

9. Should the department’s operations be more transparent? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this?

State laws dictate “transparency of the operations” for the Sheriff’s Department. These laws provide guidelines for policy and procedure, privacy rights and public records. The district attorney in this county is also bound by state law, which requires full disclosure of the investigative officer’s entire investigative file to the accused.

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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