Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, July 9 @ 7:57 p.m. / Local Government, Oregon

Curry County Sheriff Speaks Out Following Failed Tax Levy, Says His Staff Will Be Cut To 3 Patrol Deputies

John Ward

From the Curry County Sheriff's Office:

I have been tormented by having to send this information out to our citizens, but it is information that must be given, and I have always been transparent and honest with our citizens. I have been with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office for almost 33 years now and your Sheriff since October 2014. It is no secret that Curry County is facing financial problems and just prior to this last budget cycle, the Commissioners gave our citizens a choice to vote for a levy to fund the Sheriff’s Office. The levy failed and during the ensuing budget cycle, the Commissioners made the choice to cut what funding we had here at the Sheriff’s Office, cutting nineteen deputy positions along with material and services. We had presented several budgets at their request and each time we were told that we had to cut more. By the time the budget was approved and adopted, we lost two positions in 911/Dispatch, two positions in Corrections and fifteen positions in Criminal/Civil/Patrol. Throughout our office we had seven open positions, those were cut along with eleven filled deputy positions, which resulted in layoffs or positions being eliminated. Because of budget and position cuts, we have also lost Patrol and Corrections Deputies to other agencies like Brookings PD, Josephine County, and Clackamas County.

The bottom line is that we are still here but with the drastic cuts to our Patrol division, we will not be able to provide the service to our citizens that we have in the past. As of July 15th, which was the date given to us when these cuts take effect, we will be down to just three Patrol Deputies. Obviously, we have to make hard decisions and will only be able to respond when available to person-to-person priority calls in progress. Most all other calls will be handled through a Self-Report Form that will be available online or in our lobby. There are a lot of changes that we are forced to make, in order to provide what service we can. I did not and do not support the cuts, but we must deal with the reality of the cuts and loss of resources. As your Sheriff, I share your concerns about the increase in criminal activity as well as the current wildfire season. I also want all of you to know that our hearts are broken from the dismantling of our Patrol division and the loss of good men and women who dedicated their lives to protect and serve our citizens every day.


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