Jackson County Sheriff Announces Retirement
The controversial sheriff of Jackson County announces plans to retire at the end of this year. Jimmy Ashe has been the sheriff since 2002.
In 2012, Ashe refused to grant permits to businesses wanting to sell alcohol after voters approved alcohol sales in the county. A few months later, Ashe was accused of deleting emails even though state law requires governments to keep email records and a new email system had to be put in place. The missing emails came to light after the ACLU accused the sheriff's office of improperly targeted illegal immigrants during checkpoints.
The following is a letter from his office:
"After much prayerful thought and reflection, I am today announcing my decision to retire as your Sheriff in December of 2014. Serving three terms as Sheriff, and many years more as a member of the Department, has been the most rewarding experience in my life. Serving with and leading the men and women of the Jackson County Sheriffs Office has been a privilege and an honor and the citizens of the County can be proud of the law enforcement professionals who answer the call of duty everyday.
During a career that has spanned nearly thirty-five years, I have witnessed great changes in the County. While we have grown in population, we have also maintained the remnants of days gone by, with neighbor knowing neighbor and citizens supporting the greater good.
I am proud of what we have accomplished at the Sheriffs Office. We have worked diligently to enhance our crime fighting skills with new equipment, robust training, and meaningful relationships with our colleagues at other agencies; local, State and Federal. I would like to think that we have created the foundation for sustainable relationships with our law enforcement partners.
As I reflect on my many years with the Sheriffs Office, as a Deputy, Supervisor, Commanding Officer, Chief Deputy and elected Sheriff, I cannot help but recall the many changes we have seen in both the Sheriffs Office and the communities we serve. Once a sleepy hamlet imbedded in the mountains of Western North Carolina, we have emerged as a hub of social activity, cultural diversity, educational greatness, and the destination of many, be they tourists or those who have decided to become our neighbors.
Many have served the Jackson County Sheriffs Office during my tenure, and I would like to thank them for their commitment to our community and the strengthening of our values. Together we have worked to assimilate our department into the mainstream lives of our citizens; being there when needed and providing for a sense of safety and well-being.
This has not been an easy decision. I have been humbled by the breadth of your support and the measure of your resolve to help me make Jackson County all that it can be. But there does come a time when the reins of leadership must be passed to others and I have determined that this is the time.
To my friends, supporters, and all citizens of Jackson County, please accept my most sincere thank you for your trust, confidence, and faith. I shall always cherish my service with the County I love and its magnificent people."