12 Things to Know About the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office

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1) The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have enough staff to handle all of the calls for service.

2) At times, deputies are handling calls in less-than-safe conditions and without adequate backup.

3) The Sheriff’s Office depends on Oregon State Police to cover calls after hours, and OSP only responds to emergency calls during that time. People reporting non-emergency crimes like burglaries are told to call back during business hours.

4) Handling all of Josephine County’s crime after hours leaves less time for Oregon State Police to focus on their traditional duties of patrolling state roadways, responding to crashes, and targeting DUII drivers and traffic violators.

5) The Sheriff’s Office no longer has a detective unit, and therefore is unable to present many cases for prosecution.

6) Patrol has inadequate support services such crime analysis, accident investigation detail, internal affairs, and other internal functions most law enforcement agencies have.

7) There are no school resource officers.

8) There’s no crime prevention unit, and the Sheriff’s Office relies heavily on volunteers for many functions, including court security and staffing substations.

9) The Sheriff himself is having to handle calls, which at times pulls him away from his role as administrator of his department.

10) Because of understaffing, the 262-bed Josephine County Jail is only operating at HALF of its capacity. The city of Grants Pass rents 28 jail beds for people arrested within city limits. Those arrested outside of city limits are often cited and released, or released from jail early because of overcrowding.

11) If the jail is at capacity and a deputy finds someone wanted on a warrant, that person might be cited and released. If the warrant is for a serious crime, another offender will be freed to make room.

12) Medical first responders (AMR and firefighters) can’t go into crime scenes without law enforcement. Last month, fire crews and paramedics waited at a crime scene for 40 minutes before they could go in and help a shooting victim. It was after hours, and no deputies were on duty. OSP troopers were on duty but none were nearby.