Almost everyone dislikes calling a company or organization only to have to peck and dial away at the phone keypad in order to navigate a complex pre-recorded phone menu. While this is annoying for people seeking customer service or technical support, it is doubly more worrisome if on the other end of that menu are the police. For residents of Josephine County, Ore. that is the case due to drastic budget shortfalls in a county whose entire economy depended on federal logging -- the funding for which has been cut.
A report from NPR’s All Things Considered prepared in May highlights how the residents of the “cash-strapped counties” defeated a proposition to raise their property taxes in order to make up the budget for law enforcement.
Voters in both Josephine and Curry counties rejected these levies.
With no solution coming from the government, the citizens of Josephine have taken matters into their own hands “in defiance of local officials,” with a unique and possibly worrisome solution: armed citizen patrols.
One of the groups is headed up by Ken Selig, “who was the longest-serving law enforcement officer in all three local agencies when he was forced to retire” due to the cuts. With the Sheriff’s office only open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the armed patrols maintain a visible presence in their communities, ideally acting as a deterrent, specifically to property crime which is virtually ignored by the Sheriff’s office.
Selig told Fox News that no one has ever drawn or fired their weapon, acknowledging that these groups are not a substitute for trained peace officers.