In reaction to the horrific and unacceptable acts of police violence most recently witnessed in Minneapolis with the murder of George Floyd, the Ashland Police Department (APD) has received many inquiries about its use-of-force policies with requests to update and clarify them.
Topics covered in this policy include:
• Employing “choke holds”
• Requiring officers to intervene when excessive force is being used;
• Prohibiting shooting at moving vehicles;
• Employing a use of force continuum;
• Failing to exhaust lower levels of force prior to using lethal force;
• Requiring a verbal warning before using lethal force; and
• Requiring reporting.
“The Ashland Police Department prides itself on being a national best-practices organization, but there is always room for improvement, and we welcome all comments and concerns” said Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said in response to the requests to APD. Because of this, some changes have been made to APD’s Use of Force policy, which can be found at ashland.or.us/apdpolicy
“Together with Chief O’Meara, the Mayor and Council have placed peaceful and non-violent policing as a top value for the operations of the Ashland Police Department and have embedded that value throughout our local policies and standards” stated Mayor Stromberg. “Chief O’Meara and I invite you to review these updated documents and provide local input in the coming weeks as we work together to make sure that our Police Department reflects the values of this community.”
The Ashland Police Department is committed to professional, equitable policing for all members of our community. For details about these policy questions and what APD has done, please refer to these links on the police department’s webpage at ashland.or.us/implicitbias
. APD’s annual use of force reports for the last five years are at ashland.or.us/useofforce
As a part of the ongoing process to foster community engagement and transparency, there will be a Council Study Session on July 6 addressing the changes to the use of force policy. An online survey and town hall meeting will be scheduled in the future to allow community members to share their concerns and suggestions surrounding the Ashland Police Department and its use of force policies.
Watch an interview with Chief O'Meara and NewsWatch 12 KDRV about this issue.