Quentin Miller, Buncombe County sheriff, discusses how the county moved toward becoming a “community of we” in 2019.
The Community of We and the six pillars of 21st Century Policing are the same concepts in my mind, so I will frame my response in that way.
- Community policing and crime reduction: We are developing a medically assisted therapy program at the jail. This drug treatment program for those with opioid use disorder comes with a goal of lowering the jail population and the recidivism linked to opioid use. We also created a grant writer position to pursue federal and private foundation money that is available to fund community policing efforts that fit within the framework of 21st century policing.
- Building trust and legitimacy: The Sheriff’s Office held five listening sessions across Buncombe County where community members could directly ask me and command staff any and all questions.
- Policy and oversight: In November, we hired to fill a new policy analyst position, which will allow us to review and document all our policies and procedures.
- Technology and social media: We created four online dashboards about the detention facility that display data on inmate population and average length of stay by charge type. (Thank you to Buncombe County’s performance management team for help with this project.)
- Officer training and education: Our training division creates scenarios for “reality-based training” that focuses not only on officer safety and tactical skills improvement but also on the necessary skills of crisis intervention, deescalation techniques, overall communications and performance under stress. This training goes beyond minimum state standards.
- Officer safety and wellness: We have been updating our intake and booking process at the detention facility to keep drugs and contraband out of the jail for the safety of both inmates and officers.