Buncombe County elected Democrat Quentin Miller as its first African American sheriff. The former Asheville Police officer told supporters at the county Democratic party event Tuesday night he hopes to rebuild community trust in law enforcement.
The volume rose several decibels as soon as Quentin Miller’s black fedora could be seen peeking over the top of the crowd. Unity was his central message. "When we started a year ago talking about a community of we, I think we have it here tonight. A community of we," Miller told the crowd at Highland Brewing.
Miller says he’ll start by holding town hall meetings, as soon as this month, to help navigate the needs and concerns of the community. His immediate policy goals are to implement job training programs in the county jail and increase support for inmates with mental health and addiction to reduce recidivism. "I don't have all the answer, but I want to sit down and have conversations about how we do it," Miller says. "A lot of people that are incarcerated (it's) because they can't pay bail and bond. They can't pay their fines. Really?"
Tijuana Whitted knocked on doors for Miller’s campaign. She says she’s also known him for 15 years through community service. "Quentin has walked the walk," she says. "He doesn't just say he's going to do something, I have actually seen him do it. The involvement with children, he believes that if we start them off young, then we can help then as they get older. He is the mentor for so many youth. She adds, it’s a positive sign to see a black man leading the department.