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Our View: Police are doing their job

It often seems we can no longer agree on anything in our increasingly polarized society. Even at the local level, issues that might appear trivial to some divide us. But as we await the new year, every living soul in Southern Oregon wants to see Hannah Thomas-Garner come home safe.

That of course includes her family, that includes the community members who have called for a more aggressive investigation, and — make no mistake — that includes the Ashland Police Department.

A group of local residents calling themselves Bring Hannah Home have urged police to treat the 17-year-old's disappearance as a criminal investigation, because they are convinced she did not run away. The group met with Deputy Chief Tighe O'Meara on the steps of the Police Department Monday to present their case.

O'Meara explained that investigators have strong evidence that Hannah planned to go to California on her own, and they believe she did. Police do not share that evidence because they need to have information that is not public knowledge to evaluate the credibility of potential witnesses.

Emotions understandably run high when a teenage girl disappears. It's natural for people to want to help. Community members deserve credit for those efforts, and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department for searching the area where she was last seen.

What's most important is to let the police do the job they are best equipped to do, and to know that they want Hannah back as much as anyone.