Ashland Police Dept. addresses use of force policies

ASHLAND, Ore. – Ashland Police Department is releasing it’s policy manual that all officers are given. Chief Tighe O’Meara says he decided to release it to be more transparent with the public, in light of George Floyd’s death.

Ashland Police have gotten a number of concerns regarding its use of force protocols. In the handbook, it describes what officers must do before using use of force techniques.

“I think every police department in the country is getting backlash because of what happened in Minneapolis. We’re hearing their concerns and we’re listening,” said Ashland Police Chief Tighe

O’Meara says his officers are prohibited from using choke holds unless absolutely necessary and are taught to use de-escalation methods.

“Those were two things that were already part of the culture and practice of Ashland Police Department,” said Chief O’Meara.

In 2019, Ashland Police says it had 31 cases that involved use of force.

“[The number of] cases that we handled, approximately 3900 at the top of my head; less than 1% of the cases involved the use of force,” said Chief O’Meara.

Officers put their lives on the line often with just seconds to react.

“There’s always going to be use of force issues with any police department all we can do is try and minimize it,” said Chief O’Meara.

That’s why, he says, it’s vital officers get ample training because more training is never a bad thing.

“Every officer has to continuously get updated for training for an entirety of a career,” said Chief O’Meara.

Click HERE to read Ashland Police Department’s Policy Manual.

NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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