Sheriff: Van Duncan

Name: Van Duncan
Occupation: Sheriff
Party affiliation, if any: Democrat
Political experience: Served four years as sheriff
Endorsements: North Carolina Association of Educators, N.C. Police Benevolent Association (Mountain Chapter), WNC-Central Labor Council-AFL-CIO, Asheville Citizen-Times

1) How much money have you raised for your campaign?
$55,455.11 as of last reporting period (6/30/10)

Ted & Terry VanDuyn – $3,500
Bob & Maggie Lindsey – $1,500
Sen. Martin Nesbitt – $1,400

2) What most distinguishes you from your opponent?

I have 23 years’ experience, most of that time 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 N.C. 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 website and more community meetings.

5) What are the best ways to deal with drug enforcement?

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) Given the county's budget crunch, what steps should be taken to save money at the Sheriff's Office?

With adequate personnel and resources now in place, we need to continually challenge our process of delivering those services to see if they can be more cost-efficient. Drug seizure/forfeiture funds have been applied to deliver training, equipment and overtime to lessen taxpayer burden. We need to continue those efforts.

8) What's the best way to deal with criminals coming into Buncombe from other counties?

A strong working relationship with law-enforcement agencies not only in Buncombe County but around Buncombe County continues to be the most effective method in dealing with the issues of property crime, drugs and gangs. We will continue to participate with the WNC Gang Task Force and DEA Task Force.

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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