Do police really pick on teenagers?

Q: It is not uncommon for me to hear people say that the Ashland police pick on the high school kids. My friend's kid just got a ticket and all I've heard from parent and child is how undeserved it was and that he only got it because cops pick on teenagers. I'll admit that I've bought that line before but lately, after hearing about all the kids at the high school stealing and causing damage, I'm curious how often you guys really "pick" on the teenagers?

A: Well, you're correct when you say it is not uncommon to hear that police pick on teenagers. I guess it's an easy excuse when trying to explain the citation to mom or dad. The reality is very different and the Ashland Police Department is very fortunate to have most patrol vehicles equipped with audio and video recording capabilities that assist in disproving the theory that teenagers only receive citations because of their age or are treated unfairly.

Many of the violations can be captured by the vehicle's video camera and the recorded contact between the officer and citizen is invaluable.

It's not surprising that many people who call to complain about the validity of a citation or the way they were treated by an officer decline to pursue the matter when informed that the entire contact was recorded. Each person is offered an opportunity to view the video if they choose, particularly helpful for a parent who very possibly isn't receiving the whole story from their child.

Chief Terry Holderness recently had a child complain that he was being unfairly targeted by the police and offered to review the contact between the officer and child with the parent. The parent, after reviewing the audio recording, withdrew the complaint and commented to Chief Holderness that had he been the officer he would not have been able to act with such restraint to his child. I think it's safe to assume that the parent wasn't given an accurate accounting of what really occurred from his child.

For those that still think that we can't help ourselves, and sit outside the high school waiting to issue citations to teenagers, I hope that the following is helpful: In 2009 the Ashland Police Department issued 3,467 citations. 374 were issued to people under the age of 21.

94 were issued to people under the age of 18.

Q: What happened to the female officer that I used to see all the time downtown?

A: Unfortunately Officer Teri DeSilva has retired and in a very short time will no longer be with the Ashland Police Department. Officially, Officer DeSilva retired in December of last year but has stayed on with the department in a part-time capacity while assisting with community programs and downtown operations. Fortunately, Officer Mike Vanderlip has been selected to take over the Central Area Patrol (CAP) position vacated by Officer DeSilva. As a CAP officer, Officer Vanderlip will coordinate the park patrol employees and spend a majority of his time in the downtown and Lithia park areas of Ashland.

Got a question for Ashland police Detective Carrie Hull? Send it to or call the APD anonymous tip line number, 541-552-2333.

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