Sandy Mush – About 20 to 25 people attended Buncombe Sheriff Quentin Miller’s listening event Thursday evening (Aug. 19) at the Sandy Mush Community Center.
Buncombe County Commissioner Terri Wells introduced Miller, who opened with a moment of silence for those lost in the floods of Haywood County. He then introduced the 10 officers and staff he had brought with him and then he reiterated his “we” policy of law enforcement.
He then took questions, first from a man who wanted to know how to contact officers who patrol the area. Miller had the two officers assigned to the area handing out their business cards so that residence, who were present, had the deputies’ direct numbers.
During the meeting, Miller asked Ron Sercey, from the Candler area, to present information he spoke with the sheriff about before the meeting. Sercey told the story of a man who allegedly stole thousands of dollars from him and his business and had about 40 outstanding felony charges on him, none of which had gone to trial.
“We as a community have to come together to address the issue,” Miller told the group. “I do not have the answer to how we fix the judicial system, but I can tell you we will continue to do what we do, and that is enforce the law.”
The Tribune asked Miller if he saw this as a problem caused by the courts being closed during the COVID lockdown or the district attorney not taking a hard stance against crime?
“I think, again, when I spoke on a community of ‘we’ I would go back to how do we address issues as a body – D.A., law enforcement and the judges – right, so when we say the judicial system is broken or needs to be enhanced to make it better, I think we have to do this together as a collective…I’m not going to say it’s the D.A. or the judges or law enforcement. I think, combine that’s where the question should be asked and together we should develop an answer to it.” He added, “I don’t know what the answer is, to be honest, but we have to work together.”
Skyline news reporter Chad Nesbitt asked the Sheriff about a report of 40 vacancies in the jail—Miller would only say they havd vacancies. Nesbitt then said he had reports from six independent sources saying that he had felons working in his jail to which Miller said that the department answers to Training and Standards, who oversees the department. “We’ve done the best we can and they’re the ones we report to. So my suggestion would be to go to Training and Standards.”
Nesbitt then asked if he could tell why the captain of the jail quit his job? “As you know, that’s personnel and I’m unable to answer that,” said Miller. “So you are confirming he quit,” followed Nesbitt. “I’m not confirming nothing…anything to do with personnel, I won’t be answering,” said Miller.
Miller fielded numerous questions, concerns and suggestions from residents for about an hour and a half before the meeting ended.
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