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Volunteers Could Help Solve Cold Cases

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A few Josephine County sheriff’s cars sat empty at the sheriff’s office Monday afternoon.

“At this point I have one working deputy on the road, that’s it,” said Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson.

Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said cold cases, particularly property crimes, have stacked up and now it’s time to think of a temporary solution.

“The whole thing boils down to money. How much resources you can afford. So, when we don’t have the resources, we look elsewhere, and that’s where the volunteers come in,” said Sheriff Gilbertson.

Sheriff Gilbertson is working on program that would bring in citizens from the county, train them, and send them out with a retired police officer who will help oversee evidence get collected. The sheriff knows there are risks with the idea.

“Litigation if you do something wrong is considerably higher. Trying to staff these positions on a sustainable basis is very, very difficult because they have their own lives to deal with,” said Sheriff Gilbertson.

Sheriff Gilbertson said the district attorney was reluctant at first because he will not take on a case that wasn’t investigated by a law enforcement officer.  The sheriff said there is a right way to do this, and will make sure his volunteers are highly trained and the D.A. is in the loop.

“He will be included in this process so that we meet all of the requirements that he feels are necessary,” said Sheriff Gilbertson.

The sheriff knows this is not a long term solution, but could be an answer until more funding comes to public safety.

“The right thing to do is to have a plan in place whichever way that levy goes. Either it passes or fails.