Mike Lanning, a former Asheville Police Department Officer, filed for Asheville City Council last Friday. Lanning says recent controversies about the APD’s leadership spurred him to run, “because there needs to be someone on Council who will question city staff.”
Recent controversies over the conduct of APD Chief William Anderson have revealed a divide within the department, with some officers accusing Anderson of misconduct and mismanagement. A city inquiry into specific accusations of a cover-up of a March accident involving the chief’s son mostly cleared Anderson, and Council members supported him. Since then, other officers have also publicly criticized Anderson’s management, including local Fraternal Order of Police President Rondell Lance.
A former head of the Police Benevolent Association, Lanning tells Xpress that he didn’t see any other candidates bringing up these issues.
“I’m running because of the issues with the Asheville Police Department, because there needs to be accountability and transparency,” Lanning says. “Because somebody up there needs to ask questions, and not just accept the information city staff are giving them.”
“they [Council and city staff] always hide behind the personnel laws, and that’s the problem; people don’t really know what’s going on except the ones in power.”
He believes Council members “have the best intentions, but they rely on staff to give them the answers, and it’s not necessarily what really happened… they forget that they’re representing the citizens, not the city; there’s no checks and balances.”
“I’ve been in the system; I’ve almost never seen a city department leader reverse a decision made by one of their subordinates,” Lanning says. “I always questioned the leadership of the police department and the leadership at the staff level, so I figured what better person to run than myself.”
He “wants to be a voice and an ear for all city employees, someone they can trust. I was never one of the supervisors, I was always a worker bee. Most of the people I know, except in management, trusted me.”
As for other issues, Lanning says he’s still researching them.
“It’s all new to me, it’s a bit overwhelming, but I’m doing my best, and I’ll be an ear and an advocate for city workers.”