-December 9, 2013-
3:00 -- Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner sentenced, but media can't seem to determine his political affiliation. The Panthers' horrible showing in New Orleans, why leftists believe Obamacare will work, and why one progressive says Canada's death panels should be emulated.
4:00 --NC Secretary of Education June Atkinson says voucher money could go to "schools of terror" - when asked about a private Christian schools stance against gay marriage. Plus, NC Republicans say they'll try to get teachers a pay raise, Budget Director Art Pope responds to leftist picketings of his family's store. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders are in budget talks.
5:00 -- One in five Americans will be "rich" for some period in their lives. And would you rather have your dream job making $40,000 or the worst job - but making $150,000?
-December 10, 2013
3:00 -- President Obama shakes a communist's hand and poses for a "selfie" at the memorial for Nelson Mandela. Outrage ensues.
4:00 -- Mark Keller & Rick Phillips join us in studio to preview tomorrow night's Hometown Holiday Jam at the Orange Peel. Plus, Janet Casperson from Blue Ridge Bear Yogurt & Espresso tells about their "Joe for Joes" care package drive they're running. Stop by and donate to help send sweets & coffee to troops in Afghanistan.
5:00 -- More on the "Selfie seen around the world." Plus, NC DHHS software problems are completely different than the Obamacare website problems because ... well ... the GOP is in charge of the NC government while Democrats are in charge of the national failure.
-December 11, 2013
3:00 -- A former deputy with the Buncombe County Sheriff's office stabs a guy outside an Asheville bar and police arrest the guy who got stabbed.
4:00 -- Jake Frankel from the Mountain Xpress stops by to talk about the latest edition on news stands today. Plus, a sword-wielding robber, a fake sign language interpreter at Mandela's memorial, and a new world record low temperature of -135.8 degrees.
5:00 -- Fake or real? Which is better. Christmas trees, that is.
-December 12, 2013
-December 13, 2013
Frustration among Asheville Police officers with City and Department leadership surfaced yesterday, when sources within APD released a letter to me.
The letter has been discussed at a series of meetings at the local Fraternal Order of Police hall, however, the FOP has not formally adopted the letter or approved its release to the public.
And while there is disagreement inside the FOP about how best to communicate the concerns, there is little disagreement about the concerns officers have about the City management, City Council, and Police Department leadership - including Chief William Anderson.
Several sources inside the APD and FOP say the Department has adopted confusing and overly broad policies that are written in such a way as to apply in virtually any circumstance. The sources say these policies are arbitrarily applied to employees depending on how management wants to interpret them. It has led to creation of a "secret punishment" system, they say.
All sources have asked for anonymity out of fear they'll be fired or punished for talking to the media about their workplace concerns.
Night shift as punishment
One common example the sources indpendently outlined is shift assignments. If an officer or supervisor gets on the wrong side of a superior, that officer will be re-assigned to a less-desirable shift. Usually nights.
One source told of a supervisor who disagreed with Chief Anderson's denial of annual training for his team. When another team was approved for its training, the supervisor complained. He was soon moved off his day shift onto a night shift, no longer working with the team of officers he'd built.
APD staffing is broken up into teams - Team A and Team B. Each Team does a 12-hour shift. One is dayside and one is nightside.
The sources say some of these teams are running at minimum staffing levels - levels so low that vacations have been suspended and time off prohibited. If someone from Team A gets sick, someone from Team B is called in - with the additional overtime costs.
One source noted that when vacations were canceled recently for rank-and-file officers, command staff was still taking time off.This has led to morale problems on the force.
These sources say the workplace conditions are leading to high turnover among new recruits. The high turnover rate means the City is losing the money spent on training each of those new officers. Estimates of that cost are about $40,000 per officer.
Frustrated officers pen letter
At a series of FOP meetings, officers crafted a letter and intended to deliver it to City Council.
WLOS has covered this developing story.
Here is the letter:
We, as officers of Asheville Police Department, are here to say that the concerns brought forward recently by our colleagues-to city management, the police command staff and the media-are legitimate.
We have stood by silently while the very serious issues at APD have played out publicly and have tarnished the reputation of Asheville Police Department as a whole.
Contrary to the statements made to local media by police and city leadership, morale is incredibly low among Asheville police officers. The issues in our department cannot be ascribed to, as Chief Anderson told us in an e-mail last month, "a few" who want to "steer us astray."
This is not just about "a few" officers. This is a serious breakdown in relations between frontline officers and command staff, to include the Chief, the Deputy Chief and the Captains.
Matters are made worse by the fact that we also feel that we work for a government that is clearly unaware-and even dismissive-of the challenges we face, day after day, night after night, on the streets.
Our chief has stated publicly that he thinks APD is not a troubled department. We completely disagree.
Many of us work in a continual state of fear that any misstep on the job, no matter how minor, could cost us our careers and the means to support our families and loved ones. We have no problems in accepting criticism or discipline when it is warranted. But too often, it is unfairly and unevenly applied. This adds to the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, which is an awful way to spend a 12-hour shift-let alone an entire career.
We are here to let you know that we are united in the belief that serious change is needed in police leadership and in city management.
We also want you to know that we are proud of our chosen profession and that we remain steadfastly dedicated to protecting and serving the citizens of Asheville to the best of our abilities.
Officers of The Asheville Police Department.