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Josephine County Sheriffs Office Rallying Records

By Yessenia Anderson

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The failure of a public safety levy decreased the number of deputies on the streets and now an overhaul to an empty records division is designed to streamline the paper work left behind. The Josephine County Sheriffs Office says they had actually been working on going paperless for two years now, but with recent cuts that project is now in full gear.

Work at a records bureau piles up as almost everything an officer encounters is tracked here. The Grants Pass Public Safety Records Office is similar to the sheriff’s operation, but their function is different, a distinction that is more blurred after sheriff’s cuts. Six full time employees, with a few on call, make up the team.

“We have eight hour and ten hour shifts, and it takes all of these people working continuously at a very high pace,” explains Records Bureau Supervisor Robin Ward.

The paperwork does not end there: with limited space at the jail, cite and releases by officers have become more commonplace; a concern that calls for a more innovative process.

“My job now will be to work closer with the District Attorney’s office to see if any of those possibly can still get through for some sort of prosecution,” says Deputy Police Chief Bill Landis.

Those types of creative approaches are doing away with old methods at the sheriff’s office.

“If it’s older than 2006, you have to have somebody here at the main office who comes down to the basement and pulls that physical file out,” Josephine County Sheriffs Office’s PIO Erin Maue explains.

With no one to make that walk down anymore, files must be able to those still employed, such as jail staff. Files are now scanned to a program that will allow cases to be reviewed from any staff computer and other physical files have been moved to the jail.

Bins are filled to the rim with old files that have reached expiration. The Josephine County Sheriffs Office says that work has been made possible through the help of diligent volunteers and of course it is going to be a lengthy process to have everything complete.