GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Another year, another levy to help fund the Josephine County Jail on the May ballot, and another defeat by voters. Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said he has a plan in place to move forward without additional funding.
As of now, with no additional funding, Sheriff Gilbertson said his department will be at status quo with 38 employees and 70 jail beds heading into next fiscal year. Only two of those employees are patrol deputies, but with a million dollar grant in the county’s hands for roads, the sheriff said getting a chunk of that would make a big difference.
“What that would do is provide me with four more patrol deputies and two more dispatchers. So, in a sense, we’ll double our work force and have two, eight hour shifts, five days a week instead of one,” said Sheriff Gilbertson.
The sheriff said he’s also exploring other options, including reaching out to Salem for help.
“I’m also going to be sending some requests to the legislation to see if we can come up with some other funding streams as well,” Sheriff Gilbertson.
The levy that was voted down Tuesday was started with a petition from citizen group Securing Our Safety. Spokesman Pat Fahey said something must be figured out.
If there’s a light at the end of a tunnel in 2016, it’s a train. So our task now, as far as S.O.S, is to look at what the voters told us because they sent a message,” said Fahey.
While nothing will be solidified before the sheriff’s election in November, Fahey said they’ll reach out to opponents.
“We’re going to try and engage the opposition groups in some sort of dialogue,” said Fahey.
The sheriff said not getting additional funding just means moving on as best they can.
“We’re not going to just sit here and lament, wah wah, we didn’t get our money. We’re going to find every way we can to support law enforcement in our community,” said Sheriff Gilbertson.