MERLIN, Ore. — The public safety levy failed in Josephine County on Tuesday and the sheriff’s office will also not receive any requested funds from roads money. Some help came Friday in the form of volunteers.
The sheriff is in the process of forming a team of trained volunteers to gather evidence in property crimes in the county. That project is still in the works, but today the volunteer force increased by one third and these recruits will help out everywhere from the court to the jail.
Nine men and women raised their right hand and were sworn in as volunteers by Sheriff Gil Gilbertson.
“I’m elated! Yes, I am very happy,” said new volunteer Bill Phillips.
Philips said he has spare time and wants to do what he can to help with the county’s public safety.
“I figured why not, come give back to the community,” said Phillips.
Phillips has no law enforcement experience and said he heard about the opportunity about a month ago and after a background check and short application, was approved to volunteer.
“I was in the 101st airborne, I did make sniper school, and that’s about the closest to law enforcement I’ve done,” said Phillips.
The nine new volunteers increase the total number to forty. Volunteers work court security, assist at the jail, and man the substations in Merlin and Cave Junction.
“For the less serious violations, they can come in to a substation and fill out a report, then we get it over to the sheriff’s department,” said Sheriff’s volunteer Buzz Quillin.
Quillin said he’s in charge of scheduling for the court’s volunteers, and lately, they’ve been few and far between.
“We’ve been very short this year for volunteers. We’ve had a lot of people move out of the area, or just quit the unit and we started coming up short,” said Quillin.
Phillips said a training schedule has yet to be set, but he’s ready to do what he can to make his community safer.
“We need to step up to the plate and help. If you want it safe, you’ve got to do something to help,” said Phillips.