ASHLAND, Ore. – A controversial ordinance is moving forward in the City of Ashland, but not without some changes.
Tuesday night, Ashland city councilors voted 5 to 1 in favor of pushing through Ordinance 3176. It would allow police to charge a person with a crime if they don’t identify themselves in some cases.
Under the ordinance, a person would only be charged and could face jail time if the police officer has probable cause to believe the person has committed a violation or is trying to cite the person for a violation.
In the latest iteration, councilors added an amendment that would make the ordinance expire in one year and require a study on its impacts.
As it stands, if a person doesn’t give their name and date of birth, police can’t cite them for violating a local ordinance, which police say can make it difficult to do their job.
Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said, “We’re trying to enforce the law that the Ashland city council has asked us to enforce and we can’t do that. I cannot complete that duty if I don’t have a name to put on that ticket.”
The ordinance has created controversy as some worry it could encourage racial profiling and discrimination towards vulnerable groups like the unhoused population, the LGBTQ community, and the mentally unstable.
Ashland resident Kokayi Nosakhere said, “The public is swinging in the direction of wanting to take power back into its own hands to make sure there isn’t abuse happening in and by the police.”
June 18th was the first reading of the ordinance. It will need to pass through a second reading at the next city council meeting before it goes into effect.
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