Duncan denies current deputies are targets in Medford investigation

At the Jan. 15 detention hearing for former Sheriff Bobby Medford, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Edwards said the ongoing investigation into extortion and corruption charges includes current deputies and law enforcement officers. However, Sheriff Van Duncan told Xpress that he doesn’t believe any deputies still serving in the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office are involved.

“My understanding comes from the federal government verbatim — they’ve said that there isn’t anybody currently in this office that’s a target in the corruption investigations, and I believe that,” Duncan said.

He added that “investigations are fluid things, but if they [federal investigators] come to us with evidence that someone still employed here was involved in this, we will take immediate action. We have definitely opened our doors and helped to facilitate this investigation and we will continue to do so.”

Edwards, who referred to Medford as “the head of the snake” of a large criminal operation during the hearing, also noted that as sheriff, Medford had given out special deputy badges to more than 400 people, including some illegal video-poker operators. These loyalists were known as “Medford’s Army,” said Edwards, and, “After losing re-election, all the records on the special deputies — who they were, how many there were — were all shredded,” he noted, adding that Duncan has since changed the design of the special deputy badge and the criteria for special deputies.

Duncan confirmed that the records on Medford’s special deputies had been destroyed and new badges had been issued to current reserve deputies. He added that reserve deputies are now required to have law enforcement training and fulfill a set number of hours each month.

“We felt very strongly that some of those badges had been given to people who had no business having them in the past,” Duncan said. “Now they’re only in the hands of sworn law enforcement officers.”

The Sheriff’s Office confirmed today that there are currently 528 reserve deputies, though about 140 of those are “cross-sworn officers” from other agencies such as the Asheville and Woodfin Police Departments. That leaves the number of remaining reserve deputies just slightly less than during Medford’s tenure.

—David Forbes, staff writer

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7 thoughts on “Duncan denies current deputies are targets in Medford investigation

  1. lokel

    So if Mr Duncan is proven wrong: and there are indeed serving Buncombe County Deputies under investigation can we expect his resignation?

    If he is so sure, then perhaps he is complicit with the criminals on his force.

  2. Nam Vet

    Lokel, I doubt you are local. You smell of transplant whiner, for sure. Sheriff Duncan has gravitas. He has character. If he says none of his current deputies are being investigated, I believe him. It’s easy to sit back and snipe. I’d like to see you get real.

    I am pleased we have a Sheriff of character now in office. Thank you Sheriff Duncan for being a good,professional law enforcement officer.

  3. Someonelse

    Nam Vet is not a local, either. He is transplanted from LA, as per his own accounts. And it is also interesting that he bashes someone for doing something that actually he is doing. “Sitting back and sniping”

    So, MountainX Online Community, Why is this “Nam Vet Character tolerated? In the spirit of free speech? Because it really seems to take away from the over-all value of the online site. A few snarky, quasi-humorous posts from Mr. Bugg may have their place, but the constant fight-picking and mis-information of Mr Nam Vet seems more relevant for the lowest-common-denominator free-for-all at the citizen times site. I find it unfortunate that I have to wade through reams of ‘his’ ignorant and inflamatory posts to get to an actual intelligent discussion. Perhaps this is what yo are going for?
    I have already tried the ‘block’ function, but to no avail.

  4. Nam Vet

    I am a local, born and raised here. I spent several years in California on a job, and was a volunteer for LAPD during that time. I mentioned it only to provide some perspective to my point of view. I would say something else is acting as a troll. And this latest rant is proof of that. Something else, cool your jets and act as if you were speaking face to face with people.

  5. “cool your jets and act as if you were speaking face to face with people.”
    Mr. Vet,

    If calling people “transplant whiners” “and ignorant jerks” (amongst many other things, I’m sure, judging from the most peripheral glance at your posting history) is the kind of face-to-face interacting you feel is appropriate for discussion, then perhaps you are not the best person to be giving said advice.

  6. Nam Vet

    I went a bit over the line there. Apologies to anyone who was offended by the “jerk” comment. I do ask that we have respect for our law enforcement officers who risk life and limb to protect and serve. They are not above criticism, but they deserve respect.

  7. Rob Close

    ok, so to analyze this story, the truth is either…

    a) there is probably no corruption. there is no investigation. the u.s. attorney was confused. van duncan is right.

    b) there may be corruption. there is an investigation. the u.s. attorney is right. van duncan is confused.

    c) there is corruption, it is being investigated. the u.s. attorney told us all. van duncan is covering it up best he can.

    so either way, at least one government official does not have the whole story. and which-ever one it is, we deserve to know. so who is following this up?

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