Buncombe County's new sheriff talks about the election, his plans for the future

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Buncombe County has a new sheriff -- Quentin Miller, a retired Asheville police officer who won the race with 62 percent of the vote. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Buncombe County has a new sheriff. Quentin Miller, a retired Asheville police officer, won the race with 62 percent of the vote.

The sheriff-elect is now pivoting his focus onto transitioning into his new role.

News 13 sat down with Miller to get his reaction to the race and talk about his plans for the future.

"When I first joined the police department 25 years ago, I was telling people then, 'Hey, I’m going to be the first black sheriff,'" Miller said.

After winning Tuesday’s election, Miller accomplished his goal of more than two decades.

"The elephant in the room is they say, 'You’re the first African-American candidate,' and I’ve been saying all along it’s not about black and white, it’s about what’s right," Miller said.

Because of his background in law enforcement, time in the military and roots in the community, Miller said he's the right man for the job.

"I still feel like I'm one of the community people, not so much a separation of being a law enforcement officer," Miller said.

Miller was born and raised in Asheville.

"Being raised in the developments, if you will, I’ve seen a lot of things,” Miller said. “Sometimes, I’ve been treated differently."

He said that gives him a unique perspective into the community.

"We have to get away from this idea of separation and division - the mentality of us versus them, because, at the end of the day, we are still one community," Miller said.

That's why, on the brink of retirement, Miller decided he wasn’t finished.

"The reason we really got into this is because we felt we were able to give something back,” he said.

It's his first time getting involved in politics and Miller said it has been tough on his family.

"I thought it was like dirty politics,” Miller said. “But I wanted to make sure we stayed professional.”

Miller said he wants to get the community involved by hosting town hall meetings.

"They'll come with different ideas and, yeah, they will probably beat us up for a while," he said. "But that's fine, because now we know their concerns,."

But Miller said he wants to keep politics out of the office.

"If you call the sheriff’s office for help, do you tell us you’re a Republican or that you’re a Democrat? No. You ask us for help," Miller said.

Now that the race is over, Miller said it overwhelms him to think about all the support he received along the way.

"It’s humbling to think about it even,” Miller said. “It kind of tears me up.”

But he said he’s ready to get to work.

"I have to ensure that each deputy understands that when we come to work, we come to work for the people we serve," Miller said.

Miller will be sworn in Dec. 3.