JOSEPHINE COUNTY – A new report on how law enforcement efforts in Josephine County have been affected by the county’s 2012 funding crisis will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners at a public meeting 9 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 4, in the Anne Basker Auditorium.
Local nonprofit Securing Our Safety contracted with NPC Research of Portland to produce the “Study of The Reduction in Law Enforcement Funding in Josephine County 2010-2018.” Kelly Jarvis and Lisa Lucas of NPC will present the 72-page document and will answer questions raised by the commissioners. The meeting will be broadcast live on Spectrum Charter channel 181, 182 or 183 (depending on location) and on the county’s YouTube channel: youtube.com/c/JosephineCountyOR.
NPC representatives will also be available 11 a.m. to noon at Grants Pass City Hall to discuss the report with the public. The full report can be found at: SecuringOurSafety.org.
"This independent study of the reduction of law enforcement funding in Josephine County is a real eye opener, even for those like me that have followed this challenge closely over the years,” said Jay Meredith, president and board chair of Securing Our Safety.
The 2012 funding cuts reduced Josephine County Sheriff’s Office staff by 67 percent, forcing the office to establish a triage system that prioritized response to person and violent crimes, while de-prioritizing property crimes and other crimes that were not in progress. The number of sheriff’s deputies has increased since 2016, but patrol coverage remains limited. Additionally, the office has been unable to replace any of its three detectives lost in 2012, restricting its ability to conduct investigations.
“Every resident of Josephine County should at least read the three-page executive summary at the beginning of the report so that we're all aware of the facts and to help us all work together to overcome these challenges in the near future," Meredith said.
NPC says criminal behavior in Josephine County has increased since 2012, and recidivism rates have doubled.
“Even with the increases made possible by the (2017) levy, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office remained under-capacitated 2 years later. In 2019, the Sheriff’s Office had roughly half of the patrol coverage, half of the dispatch capacity, one quarter of the records capacity and none of the detective capacity that it had before 2012. Importantly, the 2017 levy was approved for 5 years. Without another source of longer-term funding, in 2022, Josephine County could re-experience the impacts of the 2012 funding cuts,” states the report.
NPC says that even with the levy in place, Josephine County residents paid substantially less for patrol deputies than residents of neighboring counties.
Securing Our Safety is a citizen-led nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization “dedicated to the mission of providing for a secure, stable and sustainable future for Josephine County.” Josephine County Sheriff’s Office contributed $10,000 to Securing Our Safety in October 2018 to help facilitate the report.
A potential quorum of Grants Pass City Councilors may be present at this meeting.