Asheville Police Department’s Community Engagement Division takes shape

Press release from Asheville Police Department:

The Asheville Police Department (APD) is making it easier for residents to make officers aware of issues impacting their neighborhoods. In October APD created the Community Engagement Division (CED) after a department-wide restructuring. The goal of the division is to quickly and efficiently respond to neighborhood quality of life concerns.

“We are excited to have an entire division focused on understanding the reasons why certain issues are happening in our communities and finding ways to partner with residents to address them,” said APD Chief David Zack.

The CED works alongside community partners to address more complex societal issues such as homelessness, substance misuse, and mental health issues. The division works with businesses, schools, neighborhoods, and communities to provide a non-traditional, problem-solving approach to crime and the related issues. Through this work, the division develops positive relationships which help co-develop public safety in Asheville.

“While we still have several vacancies in this unit due to a department-wide staffing issue, I can say this division has been extremely productive in the last two months,” said CED Captain Mike Lamb. “We are on the right track, we have great officers on board, and we are looking forward to seeing positive results.”

In November, the division addressed more than 20 neighborhood issues to include open air drug transactions, weapons violations, and noise complaints. Officers responded to more than 30 calls regarding homeless camps, partnering with Homeward Bound to offer resources to individuals in encampments. Officers also attended nearly 30 community meetings.

To contact officers with the community engagement division for non-emergency community issues, reach out to Call 9-1-1 for emergencies. If residents would like to remain anonymous while submitting non-emergency crime information, they can download the new TIP2APD smartphone app by searching “Asheville PD” in the app store. Individuals can also submit an anonymous tip through a text message. To send a text, type in the phone number 847411 and in the message body type tip2apd followed by the tip.

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