Candidate Survey – Van Duncan

Name: Van Duncan
Occupation: Sheriff
Party affiliation, if any: Democrat
Political experience: Served as Sheriff for four years
Endorsements: FOP not doing endorsements for local races. Seeking NCAE endorsement for the fall.
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign?
Through the last reporting period for this campaign cycle, $37,000 has been raised.
Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
Ted and Terry VanDuyn, David Gantt, Bob and Maggie Lindsey all at approximately the $1,000 level.
Changes in this information will be reflected in the updated campaign finance report, First Quarter Plus Report to be released April 26, 2010.

2) What most distinguishes you from your opponent?
I have 23 years' experience, most of it in a supervisory role. I have a criminal-justice degree from WCU and completed the Administrative Officers Management Program at NCSU. My 2-1/2 years teaching for the NC Justice Academy has given me insight into the problems law enforcement experiences statewide.

3) What are the top three law-enforcement priorities in Buncombe County?
Drug abuse and the property crimes that are generated from it. Best utilizing our resources to deal with the ever-increasing service demands made upon the Sheriff's Office. Continuing to work with our schools to influence our youth and move them in a positive direction.

4) What areas need improvement in the Sheriff's Office?
We need to continue to open up avenues of communication with the public and form more community partnerships that will make us more effective in dealing with specific problems that certain communities are facing. This includes expansion of our Web site and more community meetings.

5) What are the best ways to deal with drug enforcement?
As I mentioned earlier, I think much emphasis needs to be placed on prevention with our youth in our schools. I also think good, strong enforcement of our drug laws will increase the penalty paid for those who profit and make a living from the sale of illegal narcotics.

6) What steps should the office take to protect against racial profiling?
As part of our state-mandated in-service training, we have educated our officers on minority-sensitivity training, and we also have an Office of Professional Standards to investigate any complaints of racial profiling. All complaints made to the Sheriff's Office are investigated.

7) To what degree should law enforcement collaborate with federal agencies on immigration matters?
Completely. We cooperate through the WNC Gang Task Force with immigration to deal with gang members. We are also a Secured Communities partner with Homeland Security, which means that everyone who is arrested and fingerprinted in our detention center is also checked against the immigration fingerprint system known as IDENT.

8) What level and type of cooperation would you pursue with other law-enforcement agencies?
We are already cooperating in task forces with DEA, FBI, Asheville Police Department, Henderson County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office to deal with issues of drugs and gangs. We plan to expand on these efforts. We also have interagency administrative meetings bimonthly.

9) How would you deal with gang activity?
Much in the same way we deal with the drug issue. We need to work diligently with our schools on positively influencing our youth, and we need to have strong penalties and effective enforcement in place for those who become part of a gang and engage in criminal activity.

10) What steps, if any, should be taken to improve conditions at the Buncombe County Detention Facility?
We need to continue our efforts in substance-abuse counseling, mental-health assessment and jail-diversion programs to impact our recidivism rate. Continue in professional training and hiring practices to ensure a safe and professional environment for our staff as well as our inmates.

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