MINUTES CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION
Monday, July 6, 2020 Held Electronically
View on Channel 9 or Channels 180 and 181 (for Charter Communications customers) or live stream via rvtv.sou.edu select RVTV Prime.
Public Input (15 minutes, maximum)
As the July 6 Study Session will be held electronically, written testimony for public input will be accepted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org long as they include the subject line: July 6 Study Session Testimony and are submitted before Monday, July 6 at 10 a.m. Written testimonies submitted by the deadline will be available to the City Council before the meeting and will be included in the meetings minutes.
Police Chief O’Meara gave a staff report.
Items discussed were:
Policies not dictated by the Police Department but it is by National Best practices.
The Police Department uses Lexipol for Public Safety Policy & Training Solutions.
APD participating in implicit Bias Training. Chief O’Meara is a trainer.
APD has trained in procedural justice for years.
Chief O’Meara participated in a State wide work group and tasked with redefining what the basic police curriculum and training.
Body Cam Program and Policy.
Partnerships with people that advocate for the members of the unhoused community. If there is a concern of how the unhoused are treated by officers. Chief O’Meara has the option for anyone to call and meet with him. Chief O’Meara has a computer set up just for this purposes and the concerned citizen can request to view body came of the date and time of the concern.
How to make complaints to the Police Department.
Mayor Stromberg questioned the false arrest of a Citizen and asked how it was dealt with. Chief O’Meara spoke that arrest of the citizen remains an embarrassment for the department. There is some good that came from a bad situation. He gave the background of the situation. Spoke that it was not good police work. After the citizen had been released Chief O’Meara went to his and his father’s house and took ownership of the situation. Taking ownership is a positive step and the type of Police Department that they want to be. He spoke that appropriate discipline was taken after this situation.
Chief O’Meara went over what has been done post the May 25th tragedy:
The 8 Can’t Wait:
Failing to require to deescalate situations.
Allowing officers to choke or strangle suspects.
Failing to require Officers to intervene and stop excessive force.
Failing to restrict Officers from shooting at moving vehicles.
Failing to develop a force continuum.
Chief O’Meara explained what force continuum means.
Failing to require to exhaust all reasonable means.
Akins questioned if APD uses pepper spray. Chief O’Meara explained that they require officers to carry at least 2 non-lethal weapons when they are on duty. He spoke that it is 100% wrong to think that giving a police officer 1 or more tools is inviting trouble. He explained what it is inviting is an appropriate response to a situation that the officer cannot control.
Council discussed how holistic the APD training is. Chief O’Meara spoke that due to budget APD cannot do as much training as they used to he spoke that the APD is good for now but it is not sustainable. He spoke that there is always room for improvement on how holistic training is.
Council discussed animal attack policies. Chief O’Meara spoke that if need be a Taser can be deployed against animals.
Failing to require Officers to give a verbal warning when possible.
Failing to require Officers to report each time they use or threaten to use force.
Chief O’Meara spoke that he has done everything he can in being transparent while also supporting and respecting the men and woman that do the job every day as well as the Community.
He spoke that in the future for the Use of Force Report he is going to work on a more detailed report breaking it down by race and gender.
Rosenthal thanked Chief O’Meara for his presentation. He questioned where Chief O’Meara sees the future of policing going in our Community in 5 years.
Before Chief O’Meara responded he spoke that APD introduced the State’s first drug amnesty and treatment program called Gateway. He explained a person can turn in their illegal substances to APD with zero criminal sanction and ask if would like a ride to a recovery center to get treatment.
He spoke that APD had a full-time crisis and mental health profession courtesy of a grant from Jackson County Mental Health. He spoke this needs to be a regional offering.
To answer Rosenthal’s question he spoke that the men and woman of APD will continue to move forward and serve the Community as equitably and professionally as they can. He added that moving forward adequate mental health resources, adequate substance abuse resources and adequate Community are needed.
Council discussed 911 calls.
Jensen questioned the APD relationship with the Union. Chief O’Meara spoke that APD has a great relationship with the Union.
Graham pointed out 2 items in the Policy that state “Should” vs “Shall”. Chief O’Meara spoke that they both will be changed to “Shall”.
Council discussed how APD tracks Officers type of force. Chief O’Meara spoke that APD uses a program called “Guardian Tracking Program” which allows to track many items.
Chief O’Meara explained how APD responds to complaints. He spoke that there is a greater than 50% of warning enforcement.
Seffinger questioned exclusion zones and if they are effective. Chief O’Meara spoke that is an effective tool. He spoke that it would be more appropriate to be called “The Downtown Expulsion Zone”.
Graham how hierarchies in the APD are enforced. Chief O’Meara explained that APD is encouraged to keep an eye on everyone else regardless of the position. Chief O’Meara spoke that misconduct is not tolerated by any Police Officer.
Rosenthal questioned what the number 1 item that is on the APD budget list. Chief O’Meara spoke that he wants to maintain the staffing level where it is. Find a way that the City can participate in a meaningful crisis intervention effort that is not just directed at the City of Ashland.
Mayor Stromberg spoke regarding signing a Mayoral Pledge for the 8 that Can’t Wait and to find ways to move forward. Chief O’Meara spoke that part of the Mayoral Pledge is a 4-Step Engagement piece:
Review top current policies.
Engage key community members on the way our polices should best be informed.
Report back what changes have been made in the policies.
Graham suggested to do some of these electronically to have Community interaction. Interim City Administrator spoke that that would be possible.
The Study Session was adjourned at 7:22 PM
Respectfully Submitted by:
City Recorder Melissa Huhtala
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