By Clint Parker
Buncombe County – Flanked by the two largest law enforcement agencies’ heads in Buncombe County, the chief law enforcement officer of the county, Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams offered amnesty to an undetermined number of lawbreakers. Reports are that hundreds of citizens took advantage of the amnesty offer.
Suspiciously absent from the press conference were chiefs from the smaller law enforcement agencies, like Black Mountain, Weaverville and Woodfin Police Departments. The Tribune contacted Weaverville and Woodfin Police Chiefs about their absence and whether they were invited to the press conference or not.
“I wasn’t invited on the 23rd but I did meet with the DA on the 24th to introduce myself to gain a better understanding of each other and our departments,” Chief Ron Davis of the Weaverville Police Department told the Tribune. Asked what he thought of the amnesty program, Davis said, “DA Williams is the Chief law enforcement officer for the county and he has sole discretion on how cases are managed. So I would defer to his judgment on those cases turned over to his office.”
Woodfin Police Chief Michael J. Dykes said he was also not invited. “I was not invited to participate in the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office Amnesty Day,” said Dykes. As for the amnesty program, Dykes, said, “Since I was not consulted before the event, I do not know what all it entailed so I do not have a comment at this time.”
“The press conference was organized by the Sheriff’s office. You’d have to ask the organizers of the event for this information,” DA Williams told the Tribune, when asked about the Weaverville and Woodfin Police Departments’ invitation oversight.
The Tribune emailed the questions to public information officers at the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office to find the answers. According to Public Information Officer Aaron Sarver, “We had to have the press conference at 8 am because the DA had a trial that day. Police chiefs are pretty busy, so it didn’t seem to make sense to ask them to drive in that early for a 15-minute press conference about something that is mostly a DA and Public Defender program.”