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90 ELK MOUNTAIN RD ~ ASHEVILLE, NC 28804 ~ (828) 253-4889 ~ FAX (828) 253-4700

Michael J. Dykes, CHIEF OF POLICE

An open letter to the Buncombe County Commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Ellen

Frost, and Al Whitesides:

As Chief of the Woodfin Police Department, I am deeply troubled by the remarks made
in your recent statement regarding the alleged crisis of racial bias and excessive use of
force by law enforcement in Buncombe County. Although I too have deep seated
concerns about the appropriateness of how the August 2017 incident involving Mr.
Johnnie Rush was handled, I find the allegation that these actions are reflective of how
law enforcement agencies across our county conduct themselves to be an egregious
affront to the men and women of law enforcement who serve their communities selflessly
day and night. Further, I must state that such an accusation is either grossly uninformed
or intentionally dishonest. To imply that the Woodfin Police Department would engage in
such behavior serves only to erode the trust that we have worked so hard to build with the
public that we are sworn to protect. It is the policy of the Woodfin Police Department that
all persons which have contact with members of the Department shall be treated in a fair,
impartial, equitable, and objective manner, in accordance with law, and without
consideration of their individual demographics.

Given that, to the best of my knowledge, no effort was expended to obtain information
about the Woodfin Police Department’s Use of Force Policy or to review any relevant
records about any allegations of abuse by the Department, it is hard to accept that the true
intent of your April 3, 2018 statement was a serious effort to create changes in policy. By
failing to consult those who are ultimately responsible for implementing any type of true
reform, your impulsive response only serves to erect barriers to providing the best service
possible for our community.

Aside from the casual and broad brushed insult this statement aims at our region’s law
enforcement officers, a matter of even greater concern is your apparent desire to usurp
the legitimate authority granted to the elected officials of local municipalities and to
silence the voices of Woodfin voters. The proposals you make, if enacted, would
drastically reduce local control of municipal police departments and transfer that
authority to an unrepresentative body largely insulated from the issues facing the various

The Woodfin Police Department believes in honesty, integrity, compassion, loyalty,

professionalism, and dedication. Those guiding principles are reflected in our interactions
with the community we serve. We also believe in transparency and recognize that we are
servants of the public while simultaneously tasked with protecting the rights of all. The
Woodfin Police Department will continue with these practices as we continue to uphold
the laws of this state and of this nation.
90 ELK MOUNTAIN RD ~ ASHEVILLE, NC 28804 ~ (828) 253-4889 ~ FAX (828) 253-4700

Michael J. Dykes, CHIEF OF POLICE

I call upon Commissioners Beach-Ferrara, Frost and Whitesides to withdraw your recent
statement and issue an apology to the public servants you have so unfairly maligned until
such time as you can substantiate your allegations of systemic abuse within all the
agencies you have impugned.


Michael J. Dykes
Chief of Police
Town of Woodfin

CC: M. Jerry VeHaun, Mayor

Debbie Geizentanner, Mayor pro tem
James Angel, Alderman
Jackie Pope Bryson, Alderwoman
Donald Hensley, Alderman
Donald Honeycutt, Alderman
Ronnie Lunsford, Alderman

Jason Young, Town Administrator