Amid a range of escalating controversies, an independent audit, and a restructuring of the department, Asheville Police Chief William Anderson announced Nov. 14 that he will retire.
Last month, 44 officers — nearly a quarter of the APD’s force — signed a petition demanding changes in leadership at the department. However, Asheville City Council members continued to express confidence in Anderson’s leadership and the oversight of City Manager Gary Jackson, who functions as the chief’s boss.
“One of my primary goals during my tenure has been to ensure APD was responsive to the concerns of our citizenry,” Anderson says in his written statement, sent to the press announcing his retirement. “It is my hope that that goal was achieved and will continue to be a priority in the future. The Asheville Police Department is made up of dedicated and deserving men and women and I wish them Godspeed as they continue to keep our community safe.”
Anderson says his last day on the job will be Dec. 31. Before then, according to a city press release (see below), city officials “will announce an interim chief to lead the department” as they conduct a national search for a replacement.
In the city’s press release, Mayor Esther Manheimer is quoted as saying, “I sincerely wish [Anderson] all the best in retirement.” She adds: “I am proud of the work Chief Anderson accomplished in his time with the Asheville Police Department to significantly strengthen relationships in the community and improve diversity within the department.”
Here’s the full announcement from Anderson via a written statement from the Asheville Police Department:
Asheville – After 37 years of public service as a law enforcement officer, with 15 of those as a Chief of Police, and after discussions with family and friends, I have informed City Manager Gary Jackson of my intent to retire as Chief of Police for the City of Asheville effective Wednesday, December 31, 2014, at 5:00 p.m.
One of my primary goals during my tenure has been to ensure APD was responsive to the concerns of our citizenry. It is my hope that that goal was achieved and will continue to be a priority in the future. The Asheville Police Department is made up of dedicated and deserving men and women and I wish them Godspeed as they continue to keep our community safe.
UPDATE: About 15 minutes after emailing the above statement from Anderson, the city of Asheville sent out this more detailed press release:
ASHEVILLE – Chief William Anderson today announced his retirement from the Asheville police department, effective December 31.
Chief Anderson retires with 37 years of public service, including 8 years serving his country in the United States Coast Guard Reserves and over 15 years as a police chief. He has been recognized as a leader in the state as a former regional director for the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police and was appointed to the State Emergency Response Commission in 2011, by Governor Beverly Perdue.
During Anderson’s tenure, the department significantly improved the operations of the evidence room and established the public housing unit which among other things continues to build strong relationships between youth and police officers. He led the department in the development of important plans aimed at community-based solutions for a safe and vibrant city. Under his watch, the department put into place a comprehensive three-year strategic operating plan designed to improve operations and communications within the force.
“The Asheville Police Department and the City of Asheville made significant strides under William Anderson’s leadership,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “He never shied away from leading his department in finding solutions to tough problems. Above all, he led the way for major change in the department.”
Implementation of the strategic operating plan designed under Anderson’s leadership will continue as the City works through the process of finding Anderson’s successor.
Mayor Esther Manheimer shared, “I am proud of the work Chief Anderson accomplished in his time with the Asheville Police Department to significantly strengthen relationships in the community and improve diversity within the department. After a career dedicated to honorable public service, I sincerely wish him all the best in retirement.”
The City of Asheville will conduct a national search for Anderson’s replacement and will announce an interim chief to lead the department before Anderson’s departure.