MERLIN, Ore. -- You'll see more Sheriff's Deputies patrolling Josephine County over the next couple of months. The Josephine County Sheriff's Office says it's hiring 20 people office-wide, three will be residential deputies, and four will be patrol deputies.
NewsWatch12 went to the Merlin Substation, where volunteers have been picking up the slack for the Sheriff's Office. In 2012 the Sheriff's Office ran out of funding, and cut two-thirds of their staff.
"The burden that's been on the employees of the sheriff's office has been above average," says UnderSheriff Travis Snyder.
Snyder says Josephine County has had funding issues for more than 20 years, and it makes it hard to bring people to the agency.
"That can be difficult to attract qualified applicants because people want to know that they can get into a career and stay employed somewhere," says Snyder.
Now they're catching a break. In May of 2017 Josephine County passed a levy that will allow the Sheriff's Office to hire 20 people. The levy secures funding for the employees for the next five years.
"There's a light at the end of the tunnel for our deputies and our staff," says Snyder.
Snyder says they're in the middle of doing background checks on applicants. He expects to have every position filled in the next two months.
Even with a full staff, volunteers are necessary to keep the office running efficiently.