Sheriff Turns to Neighborhood Watch

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The lack of federal timber money is at the center of several budgeting problems in Southern Oregon. Local law enforcement is making its voice heard in the debate over the region’s failing timber industry.

Sheriff Gil Gilbertson says federal oversight of timber lands is to blame for the county’s underfunded law enforcement system. With no timber revenue coming their way, he says he’s now calling on residents to lend a hand.

Gilbertson says he’s been spending the past two years trying to create a centralized neighborhood watch system. Last year the sheriff’s department had to lay of 65% of its workforce, and has been relying on overcrowded jails.

He says residents have a responsibility to exercise their right to protect themselves and their land, but that can be disastrous if they don’t know how to do it by the book. Gilbertson says he envisions a system of neighborhood watch groups that are in close communication, helping to track criminal activity.

“They are the eyes and ears out there for us. They can collect the evidence, they know who’s doing these things. And it helps us, if at some point we have enough information we can make an arrest,” said Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson

Gilbertson says as crime gets worse, more people will volunteer. Right now there are over 30 neighborhood watch groups, all of which are fragmented. Gilbertson says after two years of trying to form a central neighborhood watch, he still isn’t where he wants to be. He says there’s no deadline, they’re just taking it one step at a time.


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  1. Fred says:

    You know this guy campaigned on the premises that he could get Grants that no one else knew how to get. He has not gotten a PENNY. Traffic Cop background is all he has. Electing him was a bigger mistake than electing Sandy Cassanelli or Keith, I want more transits to move to JO.County, Heck. What a joke. No qualified people run for elective office in Jo County. Just the self important.

  2. Bob Greazor says:

    Why now? Why has Gilbertson waited until now to disclose his neighborhood watch idea, now 2 years old and he’s just reaching out to them? Could it be because of the efforts of a laid off Jo Co detective, who has a sincere desire to make his community a better place? Is Gilbertson feeling the heat to perform like the community-minded public servant he’s being paid to be, or is he just saying things he doesn’t understand (again)? It seems to me he was quite eager, even a little proud, to spout off those astronomical (and incorrect) percentages of how high crimes in our county have risen. Our Sheriff has no foresight, no originality, and no compassion.

    1. Jack Schrieber says:

      I agree, he’s a fence rider and a puppet and just agrees with whoever is in front of his blank lifeless face at the time. Just look into his eyes and you can tell there is no brain behind them. He’s just wants to jump on the band wagon of the neighbor watch teams in order to make himself look better because that’s all he’s about. I’m glad we have intelligent people with valuable experience like Ken Selig.

  3. chad rogers says:

    [Comment Removed]

    1. Fred says:

      Just what I see and hear every day. The people of Grants Pass are willing to pay taxes for sufficient Police Officers but the residents of the county refuse too. The Grants Pass Officers are paid by the city not the county. Guess you missed Government 101 in school.

  4. Bart says:

    Why doesn’t the Sheriff start a Volunteer Reserve Deputy program, make them sworn deputies, send some of them to the police academy with a contract to stay in the county for 2 years or so as a volunteer Reserve Deputy Sheriff. It would take a little money but you would be giving the neighborhood watch volunteers training and arrest authority. It would take some work but the county would end up with a bunch of volunteer Deputies to patrol the area.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Gill’s been working on this community watch program for two years eh? I’m sure when NVCW opened their awesome community watch on FB it took about a day. Look how much it has helped the community! I hope everyone puts together a watch on their street & work together. Talking about “taxes” and waiting for help is a joke. Do something on your own if you want it done!!!!

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