SOS PROJECT – Law Enforcement: Where We Stand

SECURING OUR SAFETY TAKES BOLD STEP FORWARD

Wednesday morning September 6th, 2017 Jay Meredith, Securing our Safety (SOS) Chair, along with Sheriff Dave Daniel and Public Safety Chief Bill Landis, gathered with other community leaders and members in front of the Juvenile Justice Building. It was announced that SOS had signed a $60,000 contract with NPC Research of Portland to conduct a study of Josephine County: Law Enforcement: Where We Stand.

Sheriff Daniel remarked that “now is the opportune time for such a study to be conducted.”  His office would only be “too happy to coordinate with NPC Research” as they gather needed information. Public Safety Chief Landis briefly reflected on the many positive steps taken in support of public safety and expressed appreciation and support for this “next step” effort.

A timeline for securing the $60,000 total was not given but all hoped that it could soon be reached. On behalf of SOS Mr. Meredith gave a check for $7,000 to start the fund raising effort. The funding effort will be led by SOS Board member, Keith Heck.

Securing Our Safety is a non-profit 501(c)(3), citizen-led organization dedicated to the mission of providing for a secure, stable, and sustainable future for Josephine County, Oregon.

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The SOS Project Law Enforcement:  Where We Stand will assess all aspects of our local criminal justice and Public Safety programs in Josephine County whether operated by the State, County, or City.  While County Law Enforcement/Justice programs are in rebuilding mode over the next year, SOS can come alongside these programs to assist in planning for the future.

Timber and Public Safety

logs

It’s nearly impossible to talk about public safety in Josephine County without mentioning timber. For decades, our public safety services were funded largely by timber receipts from the sale of timber on federally owned land. Now that those federal dollars have mostly dried up, Josephine County has scraped by on federal Secure Rural Schools payments meant to temporarily replace those lost revenues until our county can stand on its own.

Each year, our public safety officials spend a nail-biting few months waiting to hear whether the county will receive another federal payment through the Secure Rural Schools Act. The most recent SRS payment to Josephine County was for nearly $4.9 million. No SRS funding has been authorized for the coming fiscal year.

On Thursday, Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley urged the Senate to pass legislation reauthorizing SRS. But the senators said Congressional leaders blocked their efforts, arguing that more effective timber management could replace the lost revenue. According to Wyden and Merkley, logging on public lands would have to increase by 400 percent to match what counties have been receiving in SRS payments.

Unless there is a last-minute shift by the Senate, the SRS payments that Josephine County received last spring will be our last.

With the failure of the public safety levy on Nov. 8, this leaves us with few options for funding law enforcement in our county.

Securing Our Safety (SOS) is working to get the community more involved in conversations about our county’s future. Please join SOS for our next meeting this Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. at the Newman United Methodist Church at Sixth and B streets in Grants Pass.

To join our email list, send us a message via Facebook, or email media@securingoursafety.org

Josephine County Adult Jail Statistics • Part 1, November 2016

All parts of the Josephine County criminal justice system took a big hit with the 2012 loss of federal timber (SRS) funds that used to provide revenue to these programs. The County’s adult jail was no exception, and cutting back on the ability to take alleged criminals to jail due to budget cuts has had a massive effect on all law enforcement agencies that operate in Josephine County.

For the full report on this topic, CLICK HERE.

Take a look at the following stats from the Grants Pass Police, keeping in mind they only have 28 total jail beds to use under a special contract with the jail:

gp-arrests-per-week

Continue reading Josephine County Adult Jail Statistics • Part 1, November 2016

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