GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office has gone through major budget cuts over the past few years. Now, the three men running for sheriff say they’ll need to address those issues head on.
Grants Pass Police Officer Dave Daniel and Josephine County Sheriff’s Deputy Ed Vincent are challenging Sheriff Gil Gilbertson in May’s election. All three men say one of the biggest obstacles they face is finding money to keep the department intact. Reductions in federal timber payments have forced layoffs at the sheriff’s office, dropping the number of employees from 98 in 2012 to 44 now, including just two patrol deputies.
The three candidates say some of the biggest goals are finding creative ways to keep services going within that limited budget.
Gilbertson said his goal is to rebuild the department, but he says more funding needs to be found to do it. He’s proud of the services his limited staff have been able to accomplish, but he said people need to be willing to fund the office to help cut down on crime.
“With more victims today than there were in the past, I’m hoping people have come to the realization that if you want the service, someone has to pay the bill,” Gilbertson said.
Daniel hoped to bring together community citizen patrols, such as the group that has been patrolling O’Brien. He also said he wants to create more oversight into how the budget is spent.”
“This community wants to be safe, it deserves to be safe, and I truly do believe in my vision that it will be safe,” he said.
Vincent was not immediately available for an interview Tuesday, but explained on his website that he would cut his salary by 10 percent and use the savings elsewhere in the department. He also wants to reduce overtime.