New police chief to implement 'written consent' policing rules

By Pete Kaliner

August 19, 2019

Asheville's newly-hired police chief told a gathering of the Human Relations Commission that he'd be implementing the "written consent" policy that City Council demanded be adopted last year.

According to the report in the Asheville Citizen-Times, Chief Chris Bailey promised the policy would be enacted - at least when it comes to vehicle searches.

Written consent is a rare requirement among police departments with only one in North Carolina — Durham — using a strict version of the policy, he said.
Constitutional law requires police have a warrant or probable cause to believe a crime is being committed before a search. That covers a person, a vehicle, possessions or a home. The only other way police can legally search is if they get verbal consent, a standard law enforcement practice.

Chief Bailey offered no timeline for the implementation, and sought to temper expectations about what the policy can do once it's in place:

...written consent should be viewed as one tool and not a panacea for fixing the disparity problem. He also said he wanted to first talk to officers, residents and others who would be affected. Previous critics, including the Police Benevolent Association, did not tell him they were opposed, Bailey said. Some officers said they feared there would be less pro-active policing, something Bailey said might happen in the short-term, but wouldn't be permanent.

If officers are less "pro-active" (sometimes referred to as "de-policing"), will it lead to an increase in crime? If so, will local residents, business owners, and civic leaders accept that? And how long before that patience runs out? And will there be enough commitment and buy-in from residents, cops, and politicians if the goal is truly to move towards a concept called "Constitutional policing"?

Pete's Prep: Monday, Aug. 19, 2019

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