GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Josephine County Sheriff’s office has gone through major layoffs and cutbacks over the past year, but Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: his department’s response to incidents near schools.
Monday afternoon, deputies received reports of an armed burglar hiding in a neighborhood off Leonard Road, near Redwood Elementary School. When deputies were informed the suspect may have had a gun, they informed the school, which was placed on lockdown.
About an hour later, the suspect was found in a swampy area and arrested. Officers say the suspect did have a gun, but there was never any threat to the school. However, because of lack of space at the jail, the man was only cited and released.
Gilbertson said incidents at or near schools are always a top priority, even with his department’s reduced staffing. He said sheriff’s deputies, Grants Pass police officers and Oregon State Police will all typically respond to those types of calls.
“If there’s any inclination that the kids are in any kind of danger, we’re going to respond,” he said.