Medford City Council Study Session
January 9, 2013
The meeting was called to order at noon in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present.
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Daniel Bunn, Tim Jackle, John Michaels, Eli Matthews, Bob Strosser and Chris Corcoran (*arrived and left as noted).
Councilmember Karen Blair was present via telephone.
1. Dangerous Dog Breeds: Mr. Swanson introduced Police Chief Tim George and Deputy Chief Brett Johnson who will be providing information for Council consideration. Chief George noted that they are looking at this issue from a reasonable view and will be presenting options for consideration.
DC Johnson addressed the Council and presented statistics on incidents in Medford and other jurisdictions. He reviewed the Medford Code sections that define control of dogs in Medford as well as Jackson County ordinances. He spoke to the recent cases handled by Medford Police and the outcomes from those incidents.
*Councilmember Chris Corcoran arrived.
DC Johnson provided national statistics and other information regarding controlling legislation that is breeding specific. This is a hot topic in the nation and there are many communities looking at this issue,
Councilmember Michaels questioned if lists of dangerous breeds as defined by insurance companies was considered. DC Johnson noted that it varies by state and community, some use behavior to define and others use lists by breed.
DC Johnson spoke to the occurrence of incidents with pitbulls during MADGE investigations and seizure events. He noted that pitbulls are the most utilized breed of dogs by those involved in illegal drug activities. The dogs are used for protection and status. He noted that in questioning officers involved it was discovered that there are a higher number of dog bites then reported during these activities.
He then presented options for Council consideration: 1) leave the Municipal Code as is; 2) develop breed specific ban; or 3) develop restrictions by breed.
Chief George spoke to the difference between regulations regarding behavior which are enforced based (such as citations) or preventative actions and requirements (such as posting warning signs). Chief George noted that regulations could also be city-wide or public facilities only such as parks. He noted that enforcement action would be done by Police Officers or Code Enforcement Officers and would increase the current workload. However, proactive enforcement is better than following up on incidents similar to what has recently occurred.
Council discussed the various aspects of the issue and noted that they would like to take a proactive approach as well as enforcement when incidents occur. Councilmember Strosser expressed an interest in addressing the dog owner responsibility.
Councilmembers noted that this issue has very strong representation on both sides of the issue and that they want to have more input on options to address the issue. It was suggested that the Police Advisory Committee be asked to review the issue and options, get citizen input and bring back recommendations for the Council to consider. The referral of the issue to the Police Advisory Committee will be brought forward at the next Council meeting.
*Councilmember Blair left the meeting.
2. Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Dealers: Police Chief Tim George introduced the topic and noted that the reporting from pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers assists the Police in investigation of stolen property .
Detective Brent Mak reviewed information for proposed changes to the Municipal Code based on research of other municipalities across the state. Changes being recommended are that the “held time” be increased from 5 to 15 days; change in time for entry to Leadsonline from end of business day to 24 hours; change of verbiage within the Municipal Code from “notification from Chief of Police” to “any Police Officer”; requiring a digital photo of all purchased property; and removal of “gold coins, silver coins and rare coins” from the Municipal Code 8.105(3).
Detective Mak provided information regarding holding time and reporting time of other municipalities. The average hold time is 15 to 30 days.
*Councilmember Corcoran left the meeting.
The Council discussed the issues presented and Detective Mak noted that he has spoken with most of the local pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers. He will meet with all involved businesses to review the proposed changes and strive for consensus. This issue will be brought forward for Council direction after he has met with them.
*Councilmember Corcoran returned to the meeting.
Council discussed having this issue as a public hearing when brought forward for their direction.
*Councilmember Corcoran left the meeting.
3. Smoke & Tobacco Free Zones – Given the lateness of the hour, this topic will be rescheduled to the January 23, 2014 Council study session.
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.