In the middle of the packed Council chambers, William Anderson, the Asheville Police Department’s new chief, was officially sworn in. Anderson promised to make responsiveness to the community among his top priorities.
“The Asheville Police Department is a great organization: it is a proud, well-trained and well-educated law enforcement agency,” Anderson told the crowd. “Like any agency, it has faced its challenges, but I pledge to you we will be an agency built on professionalism, with the highest level of integrity.”
City officials chose Anderson after a lengthy search process following the retirement of Chief Bill Hogan last year, amid controversy over missing evidence and a sexual harassment lawsuit against an APD officer. Anderson has a long history in law enforcement, including stints as the police chief in Greenville and Elizabeth City — where he was widely praised — and Deland, Fla., where he resigned following allegations over mismanagement.
Asked about how he’ll deal with community concerns about accountability, Anderson said he’ll “make sure we have steps in place so these kind of things don’t happen.”
“The issue with the evidence room, I think great steps have been taken and to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Anderson told Xpress. “I will make sure we have things in place, but it’s time to move on.”
Anderson also said that “I’m still getting my feet wet” as he gets used to leading the department over the coming months, and that it was too early for him to talk about possible changes to the APD.
Video of today’s ceremony courtesy of the City of Asheville: