APD's wish list

Ashland police want a Taser for every officer and a downtown substation. Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness will make the requests to the Ashland City Council on Tuesday, 7 p.m. at the council chambers, 1175 East Main St.

The two requests are part of an update to the Police Executive Research Forum report, an analysis of community policing practices by a consulting company from Washington D.C.

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"The purpose of the recommendations set forth in the PERF report were to update some policies, especially those related to force, and to develop and policies and procedures to institutionalize community policing in the city of Ashland," a staff report from Holderness says.

He feels that if every officer has a Taser, and there is a downtown "contact station" on the Plaza, APD will be better situated to practice community policing.

"While there is no specific recommendation in the PERF report that a contact station be placed in the downtown area, police department staff believes that a contact station is consistent with the main goals of the PERF report," the staff report says. "The PERF report made reference to the perception by some members of the community that there is a problem of crime and disorder in the Plaza area. People are much less likely to violate the law if they think a police officer is actually in the area or likely to be in the area."

City Councilor Eric Navickas circulated an e-mail this morning that said many downtown business owners who support a downtown substation "generally base their arguments on bigotry and intolerance." He encouraged residents to attend Tuesday's meeting, and said, "The question is what element of our community is the APD catering too [sic]?"

APD's request for additional Tasers comes on the heels of an ACLU report that concluded APD misused Tasers in five of six instances since 2004. Holderness recognized in his staff report that Tasers will be a sensitive subject for the Ashland community. He also drafted a new policy for Taser use by APD officers.

"While Tasers are still controversial and have been misused in some areas there is very little evidence that a Taser when properly used has even [sic] been responsible for death or serious injury," his staff report says. "There is also evidence that when properly used a Taser reduces the risk of injury to both suspects and officers involved in the confrontation."

Holderness said the new Tasers "can be equipped with an optional audio and video recorder. When so equipped as soon as the Tasers' safety is disengaged the recorder is activated."

In other business the council will:

"" discuss increasing the transient occupancy rate, and the use of these funds.

"" discuss an economic development strategy.

"" have a further discussion about transferring the special use permit to the Mt. Ashland Association, as well as a discussion about the wastewater treatment plant on Mount Ashland.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 226 or . To post a comment on this story, go to .

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