Police staffing adequate

I have lived in the peaceful town of Ashland for 20 years. The published police reports show us that violent crime is rare here. Most incidents seem to involve intoxication, outstanding warrants, disorderly behavior, or found property. I’ve always thought of our police as well-trained, unobtrusive, gentle peacekeepers.

But when I was pulled over in error one night recently, the officer having followed me and “run my plates,” making a typo that led him to believe my registration was expired, the extremely intense, brilliant and persistent flashing white lights completely terrified me.

This intimidating and disorienting light show went on for 10 minutes while, heart pounding, I searched for the documents he demanded. Then he admitted his error. I was shaken and thought, “I guess the Ashland police don’t have enough to do.”

Now my issue is the request for five additional police officers to be added to the force, requiring a substantial increase in my taxes. One or two, I wouldn’t protest. But five?

In May I wrote a letter to the City Council expressing my opinion. Just one member replied, with a perfunctory justification about “police safety.” I’m sorry — I have seen no evidence that either police or the public have been at risk with current staffing levels. And I’m very disappointed that this request from APD was met with no resistance or debate in the City Council.

I thank the Budget Committee for attempting to hold the line on the city’s attempts to raise taxes for questionable additional services. I hope others will also voice their opinions to the council.

Maureen Hicks