Councilors, however, did add an amendment that would make the ordinance expire in one year and require a study on its impacts.
Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara has been trying to get this ordinance passed by the city council. He says that police can’t cite people for violating a local ordinance which makes their job difficult.
“We’re trying to enforce the law that the Ashland city council has asked us to enforce and we can’t do that.” Chief O’Meara said. “I cannot complete that duty if I don’t have a name to put on that ticket.”
The ordinance, however, has stirred up controversy with some Ashland residents. They believe the ordinance encourages racial profiling and discrimination towards groups like the unhoused population, LGBTQ+ community, and those with mental health issues.
“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,” Kokayi Nosakhere, Ashland resident, said.
The ordinance needs to pass through a second reading at the next city council meeting before it goes into effect.
Do city police have a right to your identity? Some are asking that question as Ashland city council considers an ordinance that would allow police to charge a person with a crime if they didn’t provide their name and date of birth when confronted for a violation.
According to the draft ordinance 3176, the person would only be charged and could face jail time if the police officer has to quote probable cause to believe the person has committed a violation or is trying to cite the person for the violation.
“There’s nothing to say they have to give them their name right now, and a lot of people are taking that route and saying sorry you can’t fight me and I don’t have to give you my name,” assistant city attorney, Katrina Brown said.
City councilor Julie Akins feels it’s excessive. Akins provided NBC5 with a letter sent into city council from a church group in which they write in part: “the proposed ordinance would encourage profiling on the basis of race or ethnic background and economic status by making it easier to arrest persons who cannot, will not, or are afraid to, provide their identity to an officer.”
We have reached out to Ashland PD and city council for comment, and haven’t heard back.
Devin Gooden graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a Master’s degree in Sports Journalism.
She has spent most of her life in Atlanta, Georgia and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in Business Management.
When she’s not reporting, Devin practices yoga, reads thriller novels and loudly cheers for her beloved Georgia Bulldawgs.