By Bryan Navarro
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The layoffs have already started; by going into effect today, the sheriff’s office is able to actually save $200,000, which it will find a way to turn into boots on the ground.
In the basement of Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, the doors are starting to close; Friday at 4 a.m., the major crimes unit shut down. At 11, the shades will be drawn on the records division, which coordinates all paperwork.
On Tuesday, the Civil Division will reduce down to only 12 hours a week and on Friday, June 1st, patrols are cutting back drastically, responding only to life threatening calls.
“So that could be an assault, it also could be a burglary. If someone’s in your home and you think they’re going to harm, that definitely still merits a 911 call, but sheriff’s deputies are only going to respond during our working hours, which are only 5 days a week, 8 hours a day,” explains Erin Maue, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office’s Public Information Officer.
The sheriff’s office put out a warning to those in potentially dangerous situations, like a restraining order that could be violated.
“You may want to consider moving to a place with more adequate law enforcement so you can have a quicker response and be assured of that safety,” Maue states.
The Women’s Crisis Support Team in Grants Pass does work on intervention and providing shelter for victims.
“We are still going to continue to do our job, as we did before,” says Chalen Bomont, of the Women’s Crisis Support Team.
Workers at the center say what might change is their courtroom presence. If there aren’t any armed deputies in the courtroom, domestic violence victims, and the advocates would likely stay away.
“And that could change, so they may come up with the money,” Bomont says. “At some point, so it’s really hard to say at this juncture.”
The sheriff laid off staff in late May, before the end of the fiscal year, saving $200,000; which will be used to pay for armed deputies in the courthouse. One announcement the sheriff’s office is not making is when those patrol hours will be. They don’t want to tell would be criminals when deputies aren’t on the streets.