Not only did the Sheriff’s Office narrow its scope to “life-threatening” situations, but it even encouraged people who felt unsafe to relocate. “… the Sheriff’s Office regretfully advises that, if you know you are in a potentially volatile situation (for example, you are a protected person in a restraining order that you believe the respondent may violate), you may want to consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services,” the original release stated.
Selig’s community watch group, looking to fill in the law enforcement cracks, now meets once a month to discuss crime and teach its approximately 100 members about personal safety. The group also has a trained “response team,” which consists of 12 people who will respond to the scene of a reported non-life-threatening situation if called.
I’ll summarize the full details real quick for everyone. A county in Oregon lost a federal grant for timber that was a large source of revenue for them. The county attempted to pass a tax levy to make up the difference, but it was voted down. Because of this, they cut law enforcement back because that’s the obvious area to reduce funding. *SMH* One of the officers who was forced to retire early because of this mess decides to create a neighborhood watch group that is basically performing some of the duties of law enforcement mainly focused around property crime. They’re not handing out tickets or arresting anyone, at least from what the article said.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. There are obviously legal ramifications here. There are liability issues and then the question of what they do when they are in a situation where they should arrest a person. So far it seems like everything they’ve been involved in has been pretty harmless, but I’m sure that won’t last forever. While I don’t agree with the scope of law enforcement at times, I also don’t want to trivialize their job and make it sound like anyone can do it. Since it’s a prior officer that’s running this thing, I’m hoping that there is some good quality training going on and that the people doing this are prior MIL/LEO.
Some of the citizens are saying that the local government is cutting law enforcement to basically force their hand and get them to approve the levy. I haven’t seen their budget, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this was the case. Regardless of whether or not there is enough money, I’m impressed with the citizens’ willingness to step up and get the job done. While law enforcement isn’t the first place I would think that we should have citizens stepping up to fill the gap, I am glad to see them doing what needs to be done, and I’m really hoping they do it right since this is the type of thing that can set a precedent going forward.