GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Public safety leaders from all different service agencies gathered together to decide how to spend nearly half a million dollars. “We are all basically in bad shape. We are in a crisis mode here in our county,” said District Attorney, Stephen Campbell.
With $450,000 in extended timber payments, county commissioners passed the buck and decided to let those in need suggest where to direct that money.
“We needed more jail beds, we needed another deputy district attorney, we need court security, we need to take care of the juveniles as well,” said Josephine County Sheriff, Gil Gilbertson.
With those priorities in mind, the group which included the Sheriffs office and the juvenile detention center, decided on scenario A. This means, spending $272,700 on 39 more jail beds, with the possibility of an extra 10 if the funding becomes available.
“We broke it into increments of ten because we get a discount on food for example the more meals we serve the cheaper it gets,” said Gilbertson.
Court security will now be bumped up from one and a half staff members to two full time employees, a total of $33,000. “I’ve got two different facilities to staff so i needed a full time at both locations and they’re augmented by volunteers,” explained Gilbertson.
But more beds means the district attorney will need more help. Approximately $135,000 would be alloted to the district attorneys office to hire two deputy attorneys, and front desk staff to increase public hours.
“I will be able to prosecute more cases and we will be able to change our guidelines on that as soon as we get these people on,” said Campbell.
The juvenile detention center will receive nearly $20,000 to cover bed costs and transport surveillance equipment. The vote for all of the expenditures Thursday was unanimous. “We need to relieve that pressure both the city and the countty because we all face the same dilemma,” said Gilbertson.
The recommendation made Thursday will be compiled into a report handed over to county commissioners. Officials then will either approve the document or send public safety officials back to the drawing board.