ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Police searches without probable cause may change in Asheville after three resolutions unanimously passed Tuesday evening.
Council members heard several hours of public comment ahead of the vote.
As the policies stood, police officers asked for consent verbally.
But, the first resolution was for officers to get written consent to do a search, letting people know they have an option.
The second was that apparent nervousness and past criminal history would not be the sole reason for consent search.
The third was making regulatory stops, like expired tags, less of a priority.
“We have community members that are repeatedly saying that folks do not feel safe with our officers, so we have a problem here that has to be dealt with and that can’t be dealt with with one time of year there’s an implicit bias training,” said one of the speakers, who stood up to address council members before the vote.
Following the vote, council member Vijay Kapoor spoke with News 13.
“What the police officers are concerned about and certainly I’m concerned about, and I think many members of the public are concerned about, are situations like domestic violence incidents, where we have a situation where if the officers may need to get written consent they won’t have the use of their hands or may delay them in diffusing a situation and the officer or some of the parties may get hurt,” Kapoor said.
Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper would have the final say on how the policies would be laid out.
“I would hope and think that council, no one on council would give the chief a hard time about just using the phrase, when safe and practical [in regards to written consent],” Rondell Lance, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge, said.