Police have settled into positive routine

No news is never good news for a news organization, but for a police force whose problems were a fixture on the front page awhile back, the silence has to be a welcome one.

It is also testimony to the entire Ashland Police Department and Police Chief Terry Holderness that the turmoil, which ran rampant through the department and into the forum of public debate, has subsided.

Since police tend to be a fairly closed group it is hard to know for sure what the internal workings are today as compared to two years ago when rank and file officers issued a vote of "no confidence" in former police chief Mike Bianca. It seems apparent the situation has improved dramatically.

Holderness has continued the stability that started under Interim Police Chief Ron Goodpaster, who by all accounts did an incredible job of reorganizing the department and establishing a proper chain of command &

one that Holderness has maintained.

In recent years virtually every move the police department attempted to make was met with stiff resistence and public discontent. We only have to remember Ashland's naked summer &

when a proposed limitation on public nudity was met with various and sundry naked protests &

to know how controversial decisions have been in the past.

Community policing was once the lightning rod for public discord, where propagandists from both sides lobbed claims of a "hug and release" policy compared to "jack-booted cops with nightsticks" being released upon the city.

Holderness, himself a member of the Police Executive Research Forum based out of Washington, D.C. that specializing in community policing, has implemented basic practices to foster the principles in ways that haven't grabbed for news headlines, nor have stirred up public discontent.

Something has changed, and by all accounts its for the better. Holderness' request to arm every officer with a Taser would have been as explosive as a fireworks display on Fourth of July. The request passed council without a groundswell of public alarm. Holderness provided a detailed plan for training and evaluation of their use that helped set our councilors' minds at ease.

In a city where news stories are seemingly never ending &

Mt. Ashland, affordable housing, council strife, library funding, etc. &

the closure of the story regarding breakdown of the Ashland Police Department appears to be one finally relegated to the pages of our archives.

Thanks to the hard work and cooperation of the Ashland Police Department, it seems safe to say there is nothing to report.

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