GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Resident deputies start their day off near school zones all across Josephine County. They're stopping and educating drivers who don't follow school zone rules.
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office currently has three resident deputies who cover the northern, southern and Illinois Valley part of the county. Resident deputies said they're primarily focused on educating drivers, so if someone can learn a lesson without getting a citation, that's okay. The program is about a year old and it's also helping deputies build relationships with students.
"The kiddos go home and they talk to their parents about what we're doing in their schools and the trust we're building," said Southern Josephine County Resident Deputy Shane Simon. "When we're building trust with kids, we're building trust at the dinner table. And it's having a really great effect across Josephine County."
The area Deputy Simon covers includes Hidden Valley High School. He rotates between different schools each morning, so if he's not at Hidden Valley High he might be at an elementary or middle school in the area.
Simon said he'll often greet kids on their way to class or eat breakfast with them. He added that he thinks the program is working and people are being more careful in school zones.
Parents said they think the program is working, too. Meagan Powers works at Hidden Valley High and helps students get on track to graduate. Her two oldest kids, Teryn and Tobias, are Hidden Valley students and drive to school each day.
The Resident Deputy Program has made a difference in the area, said Powers.
"It does make me feel better about my kids driving to and from school in this area," said Powers. "People used to be able to fly up and down knowing that there was nobody there to stop them. It does make me feel better about the school zone, for sure."