Asheville, NC, police have formally implemented a controversial search policy civil rights advocates say will reduce racial disparities but that a law enforcement advocacy group says could endanger officers and limit their ability to fight crime.
"The APD has updated its existing search and seizure policy to incorporate the use of a written consent form to ensure that residents have a full understanding of their rights regarding consent-based searches," department spokeswoman Christina Hallingse wrote in a press release.
According to the release, the consent form will read as follows:
I understand that I have a constitutional right to refuse consent for this search. I give consent to conduct this search knowingly, intelligently and freely, without any coercion or threats of any kind made against me, or promises made to me. I understand any evidence of a crime discovered during this search may be seized and used against me.
After consent-based searches, supervisors will review body camera footage and related documentation to ensure policies and procedures were followed, the Citizen Times reports.
A police advocacy group, the N.C. Police Benevolent Association, opposes the proposed policy, saying it should include a way for officers to bypass the written requirement if it is not safe or practical. The group would continue to oppose the practice, which isn't backed by law, said PBA President John Midgette.