Internal ‘watch sheet’ released

24 people with past problems garner police attention

By Robert Plain
Ashland Daily Tidings

Ashland Police have created a “watch sheet” of individuals that they have on-going problems with, Officer Teresa Selby, the creator of this list, said.

The “watch sheet” contains names, color photos and dates of birth for 24 individuals that Selby said in a memo to APD public information officer Bob Smith, “we are having continuous problems with.”

The list was created to show at a private meeting, on April 17, between members of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, Mayor John Morrison, Peace House and others, according to Smith. The group met to discuss panhandling and loitering issues on the Plaza and how these issues should be dealt with.

Several attendees of this meeting said police indicated that crime in Ashland is on the rise. The Tidings has requested crime statistics for Ashland from the APD. To date, two conflicting reports have been released. A third intended to clarify the discrepancies is in the process of being compiled by APD Database Manager Linda Hogget.

Ashland police officials would not disclose why these 24 individuals were put on the “watch sheet.” Request to release the list beyond the group who attended the meeting, were initially denied.

“The public does not need to see those pictures,” Smith, the public information officer, said.

The Tidings obtained the “watch sheet” from former police chief Mike Bianca on one of his last days on the job. He said such lists have been used internally at APD but are not typically shared with the public.

“I’m still trying to figure out what the benefit is,” Bianca said of the pictures being shared at the April meeting. “I suppose if members of the public see these pictures, maybe that convinces them that [APD] is doing something, like we’re on it.”

In a memo to Smith, dated May 10, Selby explained “that the pictures were used by the officers for intelligence (identifying wanton disregarders) and that they weren’t just handed out to the general population.”

But, she added, “The chamber does have a copy of the photos because we were having issues with many of the people congregating there and targeting Chamber employees when they left. The pictures on the sheet are not of the one time offender, but of those people who are creating a chronic nuisance or who have committed a serious crime.”

On the list

Jackson Hamilton, of Ashland, is on the list.

“It’s kind of embarrassing to be on a list,” he said. “It’s startling to know that someone is watching you.”

Hamilton was arrested in April by Ashland police for unlawful distribution of a quarter ounce of marijuana, for which he has a May 31 court date. Municipal and circuit court court records have two separate open container chargers in May and then July of 2000.

“I don’t feel that I’m a threat to public safety,” he said.

Also on the list are the three men who vandalized the Lithia water fountains: Chad Borland, Arthur Ludwick and Clifford Quigley.

Although the three were tried as co-defendants for damaging the fountains, each received different convictions. Borland was found guilt in Jackson County Circuit Court of one count of criminal mischief 2 and one count of disorderly conduct 2. Ludwick was convicted of disorderly conduct and criminal mischief 1, and Quigley was convicted of one count of criminal mischief 1. A circuit court clerk explained that criminal mischief 1 is a felony and criminal mischief 2 is a misdemeanor.

Quigley, who was released from Jackson County Jail on Wednesday after serving 10 days for failing to appear for his court appearance relating to the fountains, has been in the Ashland Municipal Court system 20 times prior to being arrested for vandalizing the fountains, a clerk said. Ludwick, who is in violation of his circuit court probation, has one prior record. In February of this year he was arrested for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Borland has no prior convictions at either the municipal or circuit court level.

Civil libertarians are confounded by the matter. Dave Findanque, director of the Eugene chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon said, “It seems to me it would be wise to explain how the list was put together.

If the list was put together for something that isn’t illegal, such as panhandling, then they have a problem on their hands. If it’s chronic offenders it would be an entirely different matter. The criteria for the list is very important.”

Paul Copeland, an Ashlander who is active both locally and statewide with the ACLU, said, “People should not be targeted for surveillance unless it is part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Police harassment of so-called undesirable persons is a affront to core

American values. We should be concerned about the Ashland police keeping dossiers on citizens.”

Staff writer Robert Plain can be reached at 482-3456 x. 226 or [email protected].

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